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Title: The Memoires of Casanova, Complete
       The Rare Unabridged London Edition Of 1894, plus An
       Unpublished Chapter of History, By Arthur Symons

Author: Jacques Casanova de Seingalt

Translator: Arthur Machen

Release Date: November 2, 2006 [EBook #2981]

Language: English

Character set encoding: ASCII

*** START OF THIS PROJECT GUTENBERG EBOOK THE MEMOIRES OF CASANOVA, COMPLETE ***




Produced by David Widger





THE COMPLETE MEMOIRS OF JACQUES CASANOVA de SEINGALT 1725-1798

THE RARE UNABRIDGED LONDON EDITION OF 1894 TRANSLATED BY ARTHUR MACHEN TO
WHICH HAS BEEN ADDED THE CHAPTERS DISCOVERED BY ARTHUR SYMONS.


[Transcriber's Note: These memoires were not written for children,
they may outrage readers offended by Chaucer, La Fontaine, Rabelais
and The Old Testament.  D.W.]



MEMOIRS OF JACQUES CASANOVA de SEINGALT 1725-1798


[Illustration: Bookcover 1]

[Illustration: Titlepage 1]




CASANOVA AT DUX

An Unpublished Chapter of History, By Arthur Symons


I

The Memoirs of Casanova, though they have enjoyed the popularity of a bad
reputation, have never had justice done to them by serious students of
literature, of life, and of history. One English writer, indeed, Mr.
Havelock Ellis, has realised that 'there are few more delightful books in
the world,' and he has analysed them in an essay on Casanova, published
in Affirmations, with extreme care and remarkable subtlety. But this
essay stands alone, at all events in English, as an attempt to take
Casanova seriously, to show him in his relation to his time, and in his
relation to human problems. And yet these Memoirs are perhaps the most
valuable document which we possess on the society of the eighteenth
century; they are the history of a unique life, a unique personality, one
of the greatest of autobiographies; as a record of adventures, they are
more entertaining than Gil Blas, or Monte Cristo, or any of the imaginary
travels, and escapes, and masquerades in life, which have been written in
imitation of them. They tell the story of a man who loved life
passionately for its own sake: one to whom woman was, indeed, the most
important thing in the world, but to whom nothing in the world was
indifferent. The bust which gives us the most lively notion of him shows
us a great, vivid, intellectual face, full of fiery energy and calm
resource, the face of a thinker and a fighter in one. A scholar, an
adventurer, perhaps a Cabalist, a busy stirrer in politics, a gamester,
one 'born for the fairer sex,' as he tells us, and born also to be a
vagabond; this man, who is remembered now for his written account of his
own life, was that rarest kind of autobiographer, one who did not live to
write, but wrote because he had lived, and when he could live no longer.

And his Memoirs take one all over Europe, giving sidelights, all the more
valuable in being almost accidental, upon many of the affairs and people
most interesting to us during two-thirds of the eighteenth century.
Giacomo Casanova was born in Venice, of Spanish and Italian parentage, on
April 2, 1725; he died at the Chateau of Dux, in Bohemia, on June 4,
1798. In that lifetime of seventy-three years he travelled, as his
Memoirs show us, in Italy, France, Germany, Austria, England,
Switzerland, Belgium, Russia, Poland, Spain, Holland, Turkey; he met
Voltaire at Ferney, Rousseau at Montmorency, Fontenelle, d'Alembert and
Crebillon at Paris, George III. in London, Louis XV. at Fontainebleau,
Catherine the Great at St. Petersburg, Benedict XII. at Rome, Joseph II.
at Vienna, Frederick the Great at Sans-Souci. Imprisoned by the
Inquisitors of State in the Piombi at Venice, he made, in 1755, the most
famous escape in history. His Memoirs, as we have them, break off
abruptly at the moment when he is expecting a safe conduct, and the
permission to return to Venice after twenty years' wanderings. He did
return, as we know from documents in the Venetian archives; he returned
as secret agent of the Inquisitors, and remained in their service from
1774 until 1782. At the end of 1782 he left Venice; and next year we find
him in Paris, where, in 1784, he met Count Waldstein at the Venetian
Ambassador's, and was invited by him to become his librarian at Dux. He
accepted, and for the fourteen remaining years of his life lived at Dux,
where he wrote his Memoirs.

Casanova died in 1798, but nothing was heard of the Memoirs (which the
Prince de Ligne, in his own Memoirs, tells us that Casanova had read to
him, and in which he found 'du dyamatique, de la rapidite, du comique, de
la philosophie, des choses neuves, sublimes, inimitables meme') until the
year 1820, when a certain Carlo Angiolini brought to the publishing house
of Brockhaus, in Leipzig, a manuscript entitled Histoire de ma vie jusqu
a l'an 1797, in the handwriting of Casanova. This manuscript, which I
have examined at Leipzig, is written on foolscap paper, rather rough and
yellow; it is written on both sides of the page, and in sheets or quires;
here and there the paging shows that some pages have been omitted, and in
their place are smaller sheets of thinner and whiter paper, all in
Casanova's handsome, unmistakable handwriting. The manuscript is done up
in twelve bundles, corresponding with the twelve volumes of the original
edition; and only in one place is there a gap. The fourth and fifth
chapters of the twelfth volume are missing, as the editor of the original
edition points out, adding: 'It is not probable that these two chapters
have been withdrawn from the manuscript of Casanova by a strange hand;
everything leads us to believe that the author himself suppressed them,
in the intention, no doubt, of re-writing them, but without having found
time to do so.' The manuscript ends abruptly with the year 1774, and not
with the year 1797, as the title would lead us to suppose.

This manuscript, in its original state, has never been printed. Herr
Brockhaus, on obtaining possession of the manuscript, had it translated
into German by Wilhelm Schutz, but with many omissions and alterations,
and published this translation, volume by volume, from 1822 to 1828,
under the title, 'Aus den Memoiren des Venetianers Jacob Casanova de
Seingalt.' While the German edition was in course of publication, Herr
Brockhaus employed a certain Jean Laforgue, a professor of the French
language at Dresden, to revise the original manuscript, correcting
Casanova's vigorous, but at times incorrect, and often somewhat Italian,
French according to his own notions of elegant writing, suppressing
passages which seemed too free-spoken from the point of view of morals
and of politics, and altering the names of some of the persons referred
to, or replacing those names by initials. This revised text was published
in twelve volumes, the first two in 1826, the third and fourth in 1828,
the fifth to the eighth in 1832, and the ninth to the twelfth in 1837;
the first four bearing the imprint of Brockhaus at Leipzig and Ponthieu
et Cie at Paris; the next four the imprint of Heideloff et Campe at
Paris; and the last four nothing but 'A Bruxelles.' The volumes are all
uniform, and were all really printed for the firm of Brockhaus. This,
however far from representing the real text, is the only authoritative
edition, and my references throughout this article will always be to this
edition.

In turning over the manuscript at Leipzig, I read some of the suppressed
passages, and regretted their suppression; but Herr Brockhaus, the
present head of the firm, assured me that they are not really very
considerable in number. The damage, however, to the vivacity of the whole
narrative, by the persistent alterations of M. Laforgue, is incalculable.
I compared many passages, and found scarcely three consecutive sentences
untouched. Herr Brockhaus (whose courtesy I cannot sufficiently
acknowledge) was kind enough to have a passage copied out for me, which I
afterwards read over, and checked word by word. In this passage Casanova
says, for instance: 'Elle venoit presque tous les jours lui faire une
belle visite.' This is altered into: 'Cependant chaque jour Therese
venait lui faire une visite.' Casanova says that some one 'avoit, comme
de raison, forme le projet d'allier Dieu avec le diable.' This is made to
read: 'Qui, comme de raison, avait saintement forme le projet d'allier
les interets du ciel aux oeuvres de ce monde.' Casanova tells us that
Therese would not commit a mortal sin 'pour devenir reine du monde;' pour
une couronne,' corrects the indefatigable Laforgue. 'Il ne savoit que lui
dire' becomes 'Dans cet etat de perplexite;' and so forth. It must,
therefore, be realized that the Memoirs, as we have them, are only a kind
of pale tracing of the vivid colours of the original.

When Casanova's Memoirs were first published, doubts were expressed as to
their authenticity, first by Ugo Foscolo (in the Westminster Review,
1827), then by Querard, supposed to be an authority in regard to
anonymous and pseudonymous writings, finally by Paul Lacroix, 'le
bibliophile Jacob', who suggested, or rather expressed his 'certainty,'
that the real author of the Memoirs was Stendhal, whose 'mind, character,
ideas and style' he seemed to recognise on every page. This theory, as
foolish and as unsupported as the Baconian theory of Shakespeare, has
been carelessly accepted, or at all events accepted as possible, by many
good scholars who have never taken the trouble to look into the matter
for themselves. It was finally disproved by a series of articles of
Armand Baschet, entitled 'Preuves curieuses de l'authenticite des
Memoires de Jacques Casanova de Seingalt,' in 'Le Livre,' January,
February, April and May, 1881; and these proofs were further corroborated
by two articles of Alessandro d'Ancona, entitled 'Un Avventuriere del
Secolo XVIII., in the 'Nuovo Antologia,' February 1 and August 1, 1882.
Baschet had never himself seen the manuscript of the Memoirs, but he had
learnt all the facts about it from Messrs. Brockhaus, and he had himself
examined the numerous papers relating to Casanova in the Venetian
archives. A similar examination was made at the Frari at about the same
time by the Abbe Fulin; and I myself, in 1894, not knowing at the time
that the discovery had been already made, made it over again for myself.
There the arrest of Casanova, his imprisonment in the Piombi, the exact
date of his escape, the name of the monk who accompanied him, are all
authenticated by documents contained in the 'riferte' of the Inquisition
of State; there are the bills for the repairs of the roof and walls of
the cell from which he escaped; there are the reports of the spies on
whose information he was arrested, for his too dangerous free-spokenness
in matters of religion and morality. The same archives contain
forty-eight letters of Casanova to the Inquisitors of State, dating from
1763 to 1782, among the Riferte dei Confidenti, or reports of secret
agents; the earliest asking permission to return to Venice, the rest
giving information in regard to the immoralities of the city, after his
return there; all in the same handwriting as the Memoirs. Further proof
could scarcely be needed, but Baschet has done more than prove the
authenticity, he has proved the extraordinary veracity, of the Memoirs.
F. W. Barthold, in 'Die Geschichtlichen Personlichkeiten in J. Casanova's
Memoiren,' 2 vols., 1846, had already examined about a hundred of
Casanova's allusions to well known people, showing the perfect exactitude
of all but six or seven, and out of these six or seven inexactitudes
ascribing only a single one to the author's intention. Baschet and
d'Ancona both carry on what Barthold had begun; other investigators, in
France, Italy and Germany, have followed them; and two things are now
certain, first, that Casanova himself wrote the Memoirs published under
his name, though not textually in the precise form in which we have them;
and, second, that as their veracity becomes more and more evident as they
are confronted with more and more independent witnesses, it is only fair
to suppose that they are equally truthful where the facts are such as
could only have been known to Casanova himself.



II

For more than two-thirds of a century it has been known that Casanova
spent the last fourteen years of his life at Dux, that he wrote his
Memoirs there, and that he died there. During all this time people have
been discussing the authenticity and the truthfulness of the Memoirs,
they have been searching for information about Casanova in various
directions, and yet hardly any one has ever taken the trouble, or
obtained the permission, to make a careful examination in precisely the
one place where information was most likely to be found. The very
existence of the manuscripts at Dux was known only to a few, and to most
of these only on hearsay; and thus the singular good fortune was reserved
for me, on my visit to Count Waldstein in September 1899, to be the first
to discover the most interesting things contained in these manuscripts.
M. Octave Uzanne, though he had not himself visited Dux, had indeed
procured copies of some of the manuscripts, a few of which were published
by him in Le Livre, in 1887 and 1889. But with the death of Le Livre in
1889 the 'Casanova inedit' came to an end, and has never, so far as I
know, been continued elsewhere. Beyond the publication of these
fragments, nothing has been done with the manuscripts at Dux, nor has an
account of them ever been given by any one who has been allowed to
examine them.

For five years, ever since I had discovered the documents in the Venetian
archives, I had wanted to go to Dux; and in 1899, when I was staying with
Count Lutzow at Zampach, in Bohemia, I found the way kindly opened for
me. Count Waldstein, the present head of the family, with extreme
courtesy, put all his manuscripts at my disposal, and invited me to stay
with him. Unluckily, he was called away on the morning of the day that I
reached Dux. He had left everything ready for me, and I was shown over
the castle by a friend of his, Dr. Kittel, whose courtesy I should like
also to acknowledge. After a hurried visit to the castle we started on
the long drive to Oberleutensdorf, a smaller Schloss near Komotau, where
the Waldstein family was then staying. The air was sharp and bracing; the
two Russian horses flew like the wind; I was whirled along in an
unfamiliar darkness, through a strange country, black with coal mines,
through dark pine woods, where a wild peasantry dwelt in little mining
towns. Here and there, a few men and women passed us on the road, in
their Sunday finery; then a long space of silence, and we were in the
open country, galloping between broad fields; and always in a haze of
lovely hills, which I saw more distinctly as we drove back next morning.

The return to Dux was like a triumphal entry, as we dashed through the
market-place filled with people come for the Monday market, pots and pans
and vegetables strewn in heaps all over the ground, on the rough paving
stones, up to the great gateway of the castle, leaving but just room for
us to drive through their midst. I had the sensation of an enormous
building: all Bohemian castles are big, but this one was like a royal
palace. Set there in the midst of the town, after the Bohemian fashion,
it opens at the back upon great gardens, as if it were in the midst of
the country. I walked through room after room, along corridor after
corridor; everywhere there were pictures, everywhere portraits of
Wallenstein, and battle-scenes in which he led on his troops. The
library, which was formed, or at least arranged, by Casanova, and which
remains as he left it, contains some 25,000 volumes, some of them of
considerable value; one of the most famous books in Bohemian literature,
Skala's History of the Church, exists in manuscript at Dux, and it is
from this manuscript that the two published volumes of it were printed.
The library forms part of the Museum, which occupies a ground-floor wing
of the castle. The first room is an armoury, in which all kinds of arms
are arranged, in a decorative way, covering the ceiling and the walls
with strange patterns. The second room contains pottery, collected by
Casanova's Waldstein on his Eastern travels. The third room is full of
curious mechanical toys, and cabinets, and carvings in ivory. Finally, we
come to the library, contained in the two innermost rooms. The
book-shelves are painted white, and reach to the low-vaulted ceilings,
which are whitewashed. At the end of a bookcase, in the corner of one of
the windows, hangs a fine engraved portrait of Casanova.

After I had been all over the castle, so long Casanova's home, I was
taken to Count Waldstein's study, and left there with the manuscripts. I
found six huge cardboard cases, large enough to contain foolscap paper,
lettered on the back: 'Grafl. Waldstein-Wartenberg'sches Real
Fideicommiss. Dux-Oberleutensdorf: Handschriftlicher Nachlass Casanova.'
The cases were arranged so as to stand like books; they opened at the
side; and on opening them, one after another, I found series after series
of manuscripts roughly thrown together, after some pretence at
arrangement, and lettered with a very generalised description of
contents. The greater part of the manuscripts were in Casanova's
handwriting, which I could see gradually beginning to get shaky with
years. Most were written in French, a certain number in Italian. The
beginning of a catalogue in the library, though said to be by him, was
not in his handwriting. Perhaps it was taken down at his dictation. There
were also some copies of Italian and Latin poems not written by him. Then
there were many big bundles of letters addressed to him, dating over more
than thirty years. Almost all the rest was in his own handwriting.

I came first upon the smaller manuscripts, among which I, found, jumbled
together on the same and on separate scraps of paper, washing-bills,
accounts, hotel bills, lists of letters written, first drafts of letters
with many erasures, notes on books, theological and mathematical notes,
sums, Latin quotations, French and Italian verses, with variants, a long
list of classical names which have and have not been 'francises,' with
reasons for and against; 'what I must wear at Dresden'; headings without
anything to follow, such as: 'Reflexions on respiration, on the true
cause of youth-the crows'; a new method of winning the lottery at Rome;
recipes, among which is a long printed list of perfumes sold at Spa; a
newspaper cutting, dated Prague, 25th October 1790, on the thirty-seventh
balloon ascent of Blanchard; thanks to some 'noble donor' for the gift of
a dog called 'Finette'; a passport for 'Monsieur de Casanova, Venitien,
allant d'ici en Hollande, October 13, 1758 (Ce Passeport bon pour quinze
jours)', together with an order for post-horses, gratis, from Paris to
Bordeaux and Bayonne.'

Occasionally, one gets a glimpse into his daily life at Dux, as in this
note, scribbled on a fragment of paper (here and always I translate the
French literally): 'I beg you to tell my servant what the biscuits are
that I like to eat; dipped in wine, to fortify my stomach. I believe that
they can all be found at Roman's.' Usually, however, these notes, though
often suggested by something closely personal, branch off into more
general considerations; or else begin with general considerations, and
end with a case in point. Thus, for instance, a fragment of three pages
begins: 'A compliment which is only made to gild the pill is a positive
impertinence, and Monsieur Bailli is nothing but a charlatan; the monarch
ought to have spit in his face, but the monarch trembled with fear.' A
manuscript entitled 'Essai d'Egoisme,' dated, 'Dux, this 27th June,
1769,' contains, in the midst of various reflections, an offer to let his
'appartement' in return for enough money to 'tranquillise for six months
two Jew creditors at Prague.' Another manuscript is headed 'Pride and
Folly,' and begins with a long series of antitheses, such as: 'All fools
are not proud, and all proud men are fools. Many fools are happy, all
proud men are unhappy.' On the same sheet follows this instance or
application:

Whether it is possible to compose a Latin distich of the greatest beauty
without knowing either the Latin language or prosody. We must examine the
possibility and the impossibility, and afterwards see who is the man who
says he is the author of the distich, for there are extraordinary people
in the world. My brother, in short, ought to have composed the distich,
because he says so, and because he confided it to me tete-'a-tete. I had,
it is true, difficulty in believing him; but what is one to do! Either
one must believe, or suppose him capable of telling a lie which could
only be told by a fool; and that is impossible, for all Europe knows that
my brother is not a fool.

Here, as so often in these manuscripts, we seem to see Casanova thinking
on paper. He uses scraps of paper (sometimes the blank page of a letter,
on the other side of which we see the address) as a kind of informal
diary; and it is characteristic of him, of the man of infinitely curious
mind, which this adventurer really was, that there are so few merely
personal notes among these casual jottings. Often, they are purely
abstract; at times, metaphysical 'jeux d'esprit,' like the sheet of
fourteen 'Different Wagers,' which begins:

I wager that it is not true that a man who weighs a hundred pounds will
weigh more if you kill him. I wager that if there is any difference, he
will weigh less. I wager that diamond powder has not sufficient force to
kill a man.

Side by side with these fanciful excursions into science, come more
serious ones, as in the note on Algebra, which traces its progress since
the year 1494, before which 'it had only arrived at the solution of
problems of the second degree, inclusive.' A scrap of paper tells us that
Casanova 'did not like regular towns.' 'I like,' he says, 'Venice, Rome,
Florence, Milan, Constantinople, Genoa.' Then he becomes abstract and
inquisitive again, and writes two pages, full of curious, out-of-the-way
learning, on the name of Paradise:

The name of Paradise is a name in Genesis which indicates a place of
pleasure (lieu voluptueux): this term is Persian. This place of pleasure
was made by God before he had created man.

It may be remembered that Casanova quarrelled with Voltaire, because
Voltaire had told him frankly that his translation of L'Ecossaise was a
bad translation. It is piquant to read another note written in this style
of righteous indignation:

Voltaire, the hardy Voltaire, whose pen is without bit or bridle;
Voltaire, who devoured the Bible, and ridiculed our dogmas, doubts, and
after having made proselytes to impiety, is not ashamed, being reduced to
the extremity of life, to ask for the sacraments, and to cover his body
with more relics than St. Louis had at Amboise.

Here is an argument more in keeping with the tone of the Memoirs:

A girl who is pretty and good, and as virtuous as you please, ought not
to take it ill that a man, carried away by her charms, should set himself
to the task of making their conquest. If this man cannot please her by
any means, even if his passion be criminal, she ought never to take
offence at it, nor treat him unkindly; she ought to be gentle, and pity
him, if she does not love him, and think it enough to keep invincibly
hold upon her own duty.

Occasionally he touches upon aesthetical matters, as in a fragment which
begins with this liberal definition of beauty:

Harmony makes beauty, says M. de S. P. (Bernardin de St. Pierre), but the
definition is too short, if he thinks he has said everything. Here is
mine. Remember that the subject is metaphysical. An object really
beautiful ought to seem beautiful to all whose eyes fall upon it. That is
all; there is nothing more to be said.

At times we have an anecdote and its commentary, perhaps jotted down for
use in that latter part of the Memoirs which was never written, or which
has been lost. Here is a single sheet, dated 'this 2nd September, 1791,'
and headed Souvenir:

The Prince de Rosenberg said to me, as we went down stairs, that Madame
de Rosenberg was dead, and asked me if the Comte de Waldstein had in the
library the illustration of the Villa d'Altichiero, which the Emperor had
asked for in vain at the city library of Prague, and when I answered
'yes,' he gave an equivocal laugh. A moment afterwards, he asked me if he
might tell the Emperor. 'Why not, monseigneur? It is not a secret, 'Is
His Majesty coming to Dux?' 'If he goes to Oberlaitensdorf (sic) he will
go to Dux, too; and he may ask you for it, for there is a monument there
which relates to him when he was Grand Duke.' 'In that case, His Majesty
can also see my critical remarks on the Egyptian prints.'

The Emperor asked me this morning, 6th October, how I employed my time at
Dux, and I told him that I was making an Italian anthology. 'You have all
the Italians, then?' 'All, sire.' See what a lie leads to. If I had not
lied in saying that I was making an anthology, I should not have found
myself obliged to lie again in saying that we have all the Italian poets.
If the Emperor comes to Dux, I shall kill myself.

'They say that this Dux is a delightful spot,' says Casanova in one of
the most personal of his notes, 'and I see that it might be for many; but
not for me, for what delights me in my old age is independent of the
place which I inhabit. When I do not sleep I dream, and when I am tired
of dreaming I blacken paper, then I read, and most often reject all that
my pen has vomited.' Here we see him blackening paper, on every occasion,
and for every purpose. In one bundle I found an unfinished story about
Roland, and some adventure with women in a cave; then a 'Meditation on
arising from sleep, 19th May 1789'; then a 'Short Reflection of a
Philosopher who finds himself thinking of procuring his own death. At
Dux, on getting out of bed on 13th October 1793, day dedicated to St.
Lucy, memorable in my too long life.' A big budget, containing
cryptograms, is headed 'Grammatical Lottery'; and there is the title-page
of a treatise on The Duplication of the Hexahedron, demonstrated
geometrically to all the Universities and all the Academies of Europe.'
[See Charles Henry, Les Connaissances Mathimatiques de Casanova. Rome,
1883.] There are innumerable verses, French and Italian, in all stages,
occasionally attaining the finality of these lines, which appear in half
a dozen tentative forms:

  'Sans mystere point de plaisirs,
   Sans silence point de mystere.
   Charme divin de mes loisirs,
   Solitude! que tu mes chere!

Then there are a number of more or less complete manuscripts of some
extent. There is the manuscript of the translation of Homer's 'Iliad, in
ottava rima (published in Venice, 1775-8); of the 'Histoire de Venise,'
of the 'Icosameron,' a curious book published in 1787, purporting to be
'translated from English,' but really an original work of Casanova;
'Philocalies sur les Sottises des Mortels,' a long manuscript never
published; the sketch and beginning of 'Le Pollmarque, ou la Calomnie
demasquee par la presence d'esprit. Tragicomedie en trois actes, composed
a Dux dans le mois de Juin de l'Annee, 1791,' which recurs again under
the form of the 'Polemoscope: La Lorgnette menteuse ou la Calomnie
demasquge,' acted before the Princess de Ligne, at her chateau at
Teplitz, 1791. There is a treatise in Italian, 'Delle Passioni'; there
are long dialogues, such as 'Le Philosophe et le Theologien', and 'Reve':
'Dieu-Moi'; there is the 'Songe d'un Quart d'Heure', divided into
minutes; there is the very lengthy criticism of 'Bernardin de
Saint-Pierre'; there is the 'Confutation d'une Censure indiscrate qu'on
lit dans la Gazette de Iena, 19 Juin 1789'; with another large
manuscript, unfortunately imperfect, first called 'L'Insulte', and then
'Placet au Public', dated 'Dux, this 2nd March, 1790,' referring to the
same criticism on the 'Icosameron' and the 'Fuite des Prisons. L'Histoire
de ma Fuite des Prisons de la Republique de Venise, qu'on appelle les
Plombs', which is the first draft of the most famous part of the Memoirs,
was published at Leipzig in 1788; and, having read it in the Marcian
Library at Venice, I am not surprised to learn from this indignant
document that it was printed 'under the care of a young Swiss, who had
the talent to commit a hundred faults of orthography.'



III.

We come now to the documents directly relating to the Memoirs, and among
these are several attempts at a preface, in which we see the actual
preface coming gradually into form. One is entitled 'Casanova au
Lecteur', another 'Histoire de mon Existence', and a third Preface. There
is also a brief and characteristic 'Precis de ma vie', dated November 17,
1797. Some of these have been printed in Le Livre, 1887. But by far the
most important manuscript that I discovered, one which, apparently, I am
the first to discover, is a manuscript entitled 'Extrait du Chapitre 4 et
5. It is written on paper similar to that on which the Memoirs are
written; the pages are numbered 104-148; and though it is described as
Extrait, it seems to contain, at all events, the greater part of the
missing chapters to which I have already referred, Chapters IV. and V. of
the last volume of the Memoirs. In this manuscript we find Armeline and
Scolastica, whose story is interrupted by the abrupt ending of Chapter
III.; we find Mariuccia of Vol. VII, Chapter IX., who married a
hairdresser; and we find also Jaconine, whom Casanova recognises as his
daughter, 'much prettier than Sophia, the daughter of Therese Pompeati,
whom I had left at London.'  It is curious that this very important
manuscript, which supplies the one missing link in the Memoirs, should
never have been discovered by any of the few people who have had the
opportunity of looking over the Dux manuscripts. I am inclined to explain
it by the fact that the case in which I found this manuscript contains
some papers not relating to Casanova. Probably, those who looked into
this case looked no further. I have told Herr Brockhaus of my discovery,
and I hope to see Chapters IV. and V. in their places when the
long-looked-for edition of the complete text is at length given to the
world.

Another manuscript which I found tells with great piquancy the whole
story of the Abbe de Brosses' ointment, the curing of the Princess de
Conti's pimples, and the birth of the Duc de Montpensier, which is told
very briefly, and with much less point, in the Memoirs (vol. iii., p.
327). Readers of the Memoirs will remember the duel at Warsaw with Count
Branicki in 1766 (vol. X., pp. 274-320), an affair which attracted a good
deal of attention at the time, and of which there is an account in a
letter from the Abbe Taruffi to the dramatist, Francesco Albergati, dated
Warsaw, March 19, 1766, quoted in Ernesto Masi's Life of Albergati,
Bologna, 1878. A manuscript at Dux in Casanova's handwriting gives an
account of this duel in the third person; it is entitled, 'Description de
l'affaire arrivee a Varsovie le 5 Mars, 1766'. D'Ancona, in the Nuova
Antologia (vol. lxvii., p. 412), referring to the Abbe Taruffi's account,
mentions what he considers to be a slight discrepancy: that Taruffi
refers to the danseuse, about whom the duel was fought, as La Casacci,
while Casanova refers to her as La Catai. In this manuscript Casanova
always refers to her as La Casacci; La Catai is evidently one of M.
Laforgue's arbitrary alterations of the text.

In turning over another manuscript, I was caught by the name Charpillon,
which every reader of the Memoirs will remember as the name of the harpy
by whom Casanova suffered so much in London, in 1763-4. This manuscript
begins by saying: 'I have been in London for six months and have been to
see them (that is, the mother and daughter) in their own house,' where he
finds nothing but 'swindlers, who cause all who go there to lose their
money in gambling.' This manuscript adds some details to the story told
in the ninth and tenth volumes of the Memoirs, and refers to the meeting
with the Charpillons four and a half years before, described in Volume
V., pages 428-485. It is written in a tone of great indignation.
Elsewhere, I found a letter written by Casanova, but not signed,
referring to an anonymous letter which he had received in reference to
the Charpillons, and ending: 'My handwriting is known.' It was not until
the last that I came upon great bundles of letters addressed to Casanova,
and so carefully preserved that little scraps of paper, on which
postscripts are written, are still in their places. One still sees the
seals on the backs of many of the letters, on paper which has slightly
yellowed with age, leaving the ink, however, almost always fresh. They
come from Venice, Paris, Rome, Prague, Bayreuth, The Hague, Genoa, Fiume,
Trieste, etc., and are addressed to as many places, often poste restante.
Many are letters from women, some in beautiful handwriting, on thick
paper; others on scraps of paper, in painful hands, ill-spelt. A Countess
writes pitifully, imploring help; one protests her love, in spite of the
'many chagrins' he has caused her; another asks 'how they are to live
together'; another laments that a report has gone about that she is
secretly living with him, which may harm his reputation. Some are in
French, more in Italian. 'Mon cher Giacometto', writes one woman, in
French; 'Carissimo a Amatissimo', writes another, in Italian. These
letters from women are in some confusion, and are in need of a good deal
of sorting over and rearranging before their full extent can be realised.
Thus I found letters in the same handwriting separated by letters in
other handwritings; many are unsigned, or signed only by a single
initial; many are undated, or dated only with the day of the week or
month. There are a great many letters, dating from 1779 to 1786, signed
'Francesca Buschini,' a name which I cannot identify; they are written in
Italian, and one of them begins: 'Unico Mio vero Amico' ('my only true
friend'). Others are signed 'Virginia B.'; one of these is dated, 'Forli,
October 15, 1773.' There is also a 'Theresa B.,' who writes from Genoa. I
was at first unable to identify the writer of a whole series of letters
in French, very affectionate and intimate letters, usually unsigned,
occasionally signed 'B.' She calls herself votre petite amie; or she ends
with a half-smiling, half-reproachful 'goodnight, and sleep better than
I' In one letter, sent from Paris in 1759, she writes: 'Never believe me,
but when I tell you that I love you, and that I shall love you always: In
another letter, ill-spelt, as her letters often are, she writes: 'Be
assured that evil tongues, vapours, calumny, nothing can change my heart,
which is yours entirely, and has no will to change its master.' Now, it
seems to me that these letters must be from Manon Baletti, and that they
are the letters referred to in the sixth volume of the Memoirs. We read
there (page 60) how on Christmas Day, 1759, Casanova receives a letter
from Manon in Paris, announcing her marriage with 'M. Blondel, architect
to the King, and member of his Academy'; she returns him his letters, and
begs him to return hers, or burn them. Instead of doing so he allows
Esther to read them, intending to burn them afterwards. Esther begs to be
allowed to keep the letters, promising to 'preserve them religiously all
her life.' 'These letters,' he says, 'numbered more than two hundred, and
the shortest were of four pages: Certainly there are not two hundred of
them at Dux, but it seems to me highly probable that Casanova made a
final selection from Manon's letters, and that it is these which I have
found.

But, however this may be, I was fortunate enough to find the set of
letters which I was most anxious to find the letters from Henriette,
whose loss every writer on Casanova has lamented. Henriette, it will be
remembered, makes her first appearance at Cesena, in the year 1748; after
their meeting at Geneva, she reappears, romantically 'a propos',
twenty-two years later, at Aix in Provence; and she writes to Casanova
proposing 'un commerce epistolaire', asking him what he has done since
his escape from prison, and promising to do her best to tell him all that
has happened to her during the long interval. After quoting her letter,
he adds: 'I replied to her, accepting the correspondence that she offered
me, and telling her briefly all my vicissitudes. She related to me in
turn, in some forty letters, all the history of her life. If she dies
before me, I shall add these letters to these Memoirs; but to-day she is
still alive, and always happy, though now old.' It has never been known
what became of these letters, and why they were not added to the Memoirs.
I have found a great quantity of them, some signed with her married name
in full, 'Henriette de Schnetzmann,' and I am inclined to think that she
survived Casanova, for one of the letters is dated Bayreuth, 1798, the
year of Casanova's death. They are remarkably charming, written with a
mixture of piquancy and distinction; and I will quote the characteristic
beginning and end of the last letter I was able to find. It begins: 'No,
it is impossible to be sulky with you!' and ends: 'If I become vicious,
it is you, my Mentor, who make me so, and I cast my sins upon you. Even
if I were damned I should still be your most devoted friend, Henriette de
Schnetzmann.' Casanova was twenty-three when he met Henriette; now,
herself an old woman, she writes to him when he is seventy-three, as if
the fifty years that had passed were blotted out in the faithful
affection of her memory. How many more discreet and less changing lovers
have had the quality of constancy in change, to which this life-long
correspondence bears witness? Does it not suggest a view of Casanova not
quite the view of all the world? To me it shows the real man, who perhaps
of all others best understood what Shelley meant when he said:

     True love in this differs from gold or clay
     That to divide is not to take away.

But, though the letters from women naturally interested me the most, they
were only a certain proportion of the great mass of correspondence which
I turned over. There were letters from Carlo Angiolini, who was
afterwards to bring the manuscript of the Memoirs to Brockhaus; from
Balbi, the monk with whom Casanova escaped from the Piombi; from the
Marquis Albergati, playwright, actor, and eccentric, of whom there is
some account in the Memoirs; from the Marquis Mosca, 'a distinguished man
of letters whom I was anxious to see,' Casanova tells us in the same
volume in which he describes his visit to the Moscas at Pesaro; from
Zulian, brother of the Duchess of Fiano; from Richard Lorrain, 'bel
homme, ayant de l'esprit, le ton et le gout de la bonne societe', who
came to settle at Gorizia in 1773, while Casanova was there; from the
Procurator Morosini, whom he speaks of in the Memoirs as his 'protector,'
and as one of those through whom he obtained permission to return to
Venice. His other 'protector,' the 'avogador' Zaguri, had, says Casanova,
'since the affair of the Marquis Albergati, carried on a most interesting
correspondence with me'; and in fact I found a bundle of no less than a
hundred and thirty-eight letters from him, dating from 1784 to 1798.
Another bundle contains one hundred and seventy-two letters from Count
Lamberg. In the Memoirs Casanova says, referring to his visit to Augsburg
at the end of 1761:

I used to spend my evenings in a very agreeable manner at the house of
Count Max de Lamberg, who resided at the court of the Prince-Bishop with
the title of Grand Marshal. What particularly attached me to Count
Lamberg was his literary talent. A first-rate scholar, learned to a
degree, he has published several much esteemed works. I carried on an
exchange of letters with him which ended only with his death four years
ago in 1792.

Casanova tells us that, at his second visit to Augsburg in the early part
of 1767, he 'supped with Count Lamberg two or three times a week,' during
the four months he was there. It is with this year that the letters I
have found begin: they end with the year of his death, 1792. In his
'Memorial d'un Mondain' Lamberg refers to Casanova as 'a man known in
literature, a man of profound knowledge.' In the first edition of 1774,
he laments that 'a man such as M. de S. Galt' should not yet have been
taken back into favour by the Venetian government, and in the second
edition, 1775, rejoices over Casanova's return to Venice. Then there are
letters from Da Ponte, who tells the story of Casanova's curious
relations with Mme. d'Urfe, in his 'Memorie scritte da esso', 1829; from
Pittoni, Bono, and others mentioned in different parts of the Memoirs,
and from some dozen others who are not mentioned in them. The only
letters in the whole collection that have been published are those from
the Prince de Ligne and from Count Koenig.



IV.

Casanova tells us in his Memoirs that, during his later years at Dux, he
had only been able to 'hinder black melancholy from devouring his poor
existence, or sending him out of his mind,' by writing ten or twelve
hours a day. The copious manuscripts at Dux show us how persistently he
was at work on a singular variety of subjects, in addition to the
Memoirs, and to the various books which he published during those years.
We see him jotting down everything that comes into his head, for his own
amusement, and certainly without any thought of publication; engaging in
learned controversies, writing treatises on abstruse mathematical
problems, composing comedies to be acted before Count Waldstein's
neighbours, practising verse-writing in two languages, indeed with more
patience than success, writing philosophical dialogues in which God and
himself are the speakers, and keeping up an extensive correspondence,
both with distinguished men and with delightful women. His mental
activity, up to the age of seventy-three, is as prodigious as the
activity which he had expended in living a multiform and incalculable
life. As in life everything living had interested him so in his
retirement from life every idea makes its separate appeal to him; and he
welcomes ideas with the same impartiality with which he had welcomed
adventures. Passion has intellectualised itself, and remains not less
passionate. He wishes to do everything, to compete with every one; and it
is only after having spent seven years in heaping up miscellaneous
learning, and exercising his faculties in many directions, that he turns
to look back over his own past life, and to live it over again in memory,
as he writes down the narrative of what had interested him most in it. 'I
write in the hope that my history will never see the broad day light of
publication,' he tells us, scarcely meaning it, we may be sure, even in
the moment of hesitancy which may naturally come to him. But if ever a
book was written for the pleasure of writing it, it was this one; and an
autobiography written for oneself is not likely to be anything but frank.

'Truth is the only God I have ever adored,' he tells us: and we now know
how truthful he was in saying so. I have only summarised in this article
the most important confirmations of his exact accuracy in facts and
dates; the number could be extended indefinitely. In the manuscripts we
find innumerable further confirmations; and their chief value as
testimony is that they tell us nothing which we should not have already
known, if we had merely taken Casanova at his word. But it is not always
easy to take people at their own word, when they are writing about
themselves; and the world has been very loth to believe in Casanova as he
represents himself. It has been specially loth to believe that he is
telling the truth when he tells us about his adventures with women. But
the letters contained among these manuscripts shows us the women of
Casanova writing to him with all the fervour and all the fidelity which
he attributes to them; and they show him to us in the character of as
fervid and faithful a lover. In every fact, every detail, and in the
whole mental impression which they convey, these manuscripts bring before
us the Casanova of the Memoirs. As I seemed to come upon Casanova at
home, it was as if I came upon old friend, already perfectly known to me,
before I had made my pilgrimage to Dux.

1902




TRANSLATOR'S PREFACE

A series of adventures wilder and more fantastic than the wildest of
romances, written down with the exactitude of a business diary; a view of
men and cities from Naples to Berlin, from Madrid and London to
Constantinople and St. Petersburg; the 'vie intime' of the eighteenth
century depicted by a man, who to-day sat with cardinals and saluted
crowned heads, and to morrow lurked in dens of profligacy and crime; a
book of confessions penned without reticence and without penitence; a
record of forty years of "occult" charlatanism; a collection of tales of
successful imposture, of 'bonnes fortunes', of marvellous escapes, of
transcendent audacity, told with the humour of Smollett and the delicate
wit of Voltaire. Who is there interested in men and letters, and in the
life of the past, who would not cry, "Where can such a book as this be
found?"

Yet the above catalogue is but a brief outline, a bare and meagre
summary, of the book known as "THE MEMOIRS OF CASANOVA"; a work
absolutely unique in literature. He who opens these wonderful pages is as
one who sits in a theatre and looks across the gloom, not on a
stage-play, but on another and a vanished world. The curtain draws up,
and suddenly a hundred and fifty years are rolled away, and in bright
light stands out before us the whole life of the past; the gay dresses,
the polished wit, the careless morals, and all the revel and dancing of
those merry years before the mighty deluge of the Revolution. The palaces
and marble stairs of old Venice are no longer desolate, but thronged with
scarlet-robed senators, prisoners with the doom of the Ten upon their
heads cross the Bridge of Sighs, at dead of night the nun slips out of
the convent gate to the dark canal where a gondola is waiting, we assist
at the 'parties fines' of cardinals, and we see the bank made at faro.
Venice gives place to the assembly rooms of Mrs. Cornely and the fast
taverns of the London of 1760; we pass from Versailles to the Winter
Palace of St. Petersburg in the days of Catherine, from the policy of the
Great Frederick to the lewd mirth of strolling-players, and the
presence-chamber of the Vatican is succeeded by an intrigue in a garret.
It is indeed a new experience to read this history of a man who,
refraining from nothing, has concealed nothing; of one who stood in the
courts of Louis the Magnificent before Madame de Pompadour and the nobles
of the Ancien Regime, and had an affair with an adventuress of Denmark
Street, Soho; who was bound over to keep the peace by Fielding, and knew
Cagliostro. The friend of popes and kings and noblemen, and of all the
male and female ruffians and vagabonds of Europe, abbe, soldier,
charlatan, gamester, financier, diplomatist, viveur, philosopher,
virtuoso, "chemist, fiddler, and buffoon," each of these, and all of
these was Giacomo Casanova, Chevalier de Seingalt, Knight of the Golden
Spur.

And not only are the Memoirs a literary curiosity; they are almost
equally curious from a bibliographical point of view. The manuscript was
written in French and came into the possession of the publisher
Brockhaus, of Leipzig, who had it translated into German, and printed.
From this German edition, M. Aubert de Vitry re-translated the work into
French, but omitted about a fourth of the matter, and this mutilated and
worthless version is frequently purchased by unwary bibliophiles. In the
year 1826, however, Brockhaus, in order presumably to protect his
property, printed the entire text of the original MS. in French, for the
first time, and in this complete form, containing a large number of
anecdotes and incidents not to be found in the spurious version, the work
was not acceptable to the authorities, and was consequently rigorously
suppressed. Only a few copies sent out for presentation or for review are
known to have escaped, and from one of these rare copies the present
translation has been made and solely for private circulation.

In conclusion, both translator and 'editeur' have done their utmost to
present the English Casanova in a dress worthy of the wonderful and witty
original.




AUTHOR'S PREFACE

I will begin with this confession: whatever I have done in the course of
my life, whether it be good or evil, has been done freely; I am a free
agent.

The doctrine of the Stoics or of any other sect as to the force of
Destiny is a bubble engendered by the imagination of man, and is near
akin to Atheism. I not only believe in one God, but my faith as a
Christian is also grafted upon that tree of philosophy which has never
spoiled anything.

I believe in the existence of an immaterial God, the Author and Master of
all beings and all things, and I feel that I never had any doubt of His
existence, from the fact that I have always relied upon His providence,
prayed to Him in my distress, and that He has always granted my prayers.
Despair brings death, but prayer does away with despair; and when a man
has prayed he feels himself supported by new confidence and endowed with
power to act. As to the means employed by the Sovereign Master of human
beings to avert impending dangers from those who beseech His assistance,
I confess that the knowledge of them is above the intelligence of man,
who can but wonder and adore. Our ignorance becomes our only resource,
and happy, truly happy; are those who cherish their ignorance! Therefore
must we pray to God, and believe that He has granted the favour we have
been praying for, even when in appearance it seems the reverse. As to the
position which our body ought to assume when we address ourselves to the
Creator, a line of Petrarch settles it:

     'Con le ginocchia della mente inchine.'

Man is free, but his freedom ceases when he has no faith in it; and the
greater power he ascribes to faith, the more he deprives himself of that
power which God has given to him when He endowed him with the gift of
reason. Reason is a particle of the Creator's divinity. When we use it
with a spirit of humility and justice we are certain to please the Giver
of that precious gift. God ceases to be God only for those who can admit
the possibility of His non-existence, and that conception is in itself
the most severe punishment they can suffer.

Man is free; yet we must not suppose that he is at liberty to do
everything he pleases, for he becomes a slave the moment he allows his
actions to be ruled by passion. The man who has sufficient power over
himself to wait until his nature has recovered its even balance is the
truly wise man, but such beings are seldom met with.

The reader of these Memoirs will discover that I never had any fixed aim
before my eyes, and that my system, if it can be called a system, has
been to glide away unconcernedly on the stream of life, trusting to the
wind wherever it led. How many changes arise from such an independent
mode of life! My success and my misfortunes, the bright and the dark days
I have gone through, everything has proved to me that in this world,
either physical or moral, good comes out of evil just as well as evil
comes out of good. My errors will point to thinking men the various
roads, and will teach them the great art of treading on the brink of the
precipice without falling into it. It is only necessary to have courage,
for strength without self-confidence is useless. I have often met with
happiness after some imprudent step which ought to have brought ruin upon
me, and although passing a vote of censure upon myself I would thank God
for his mercy. But, by way of compensation, dire misfortune has befallen
me in consequence of actions prompted by the most cautious wisdom. This
would humble me; yet conscious that I had acted rightly I would easily
derive comfort from that conviction.

In spite of a good foundation of sound morals, the natural offspring of
the Divine principles which had been early rooted in my heart, I have
been throughout my life the victim of my senses; I have found delight in
losing the right path, I have constantly lived in the midst of error,
with no consolation but the consciousness of my being mistaken.
Therefore, dear reader, I trust that, far from attaching to my history
the character of impudent boasting, you will find in my Memoirs only the
characteristic proper to a general confession, and that my narratory
style will be the manner neither of a repenting sinner, nor of a man
ashamed to acknowledge his frolics. They are the follies inherent to
youth; I make sport of them, and, if you are kind, you will not yourself
refuse them a good-natured smile. You will be amused when you see that I
have more than once deceived without the slightest qualm of conscience,
both knaves and fools. As to the deceit perpetrated upon women, let it
pass, for, when love is in the way, men and women as a general rule dupe
each other. But on the score of fools it is a very different matter. I
always feel the greatest bliss when I recollect those I have caught in my
snares, for they generally are insolent, and so self-conceited that they
challenge wit. We avenge intellect when we dupe a fool, and it is a
victory not to be despised for a fool is covered with steel and it is
often very hard to find his vulnerable part. In fact, to gull a fool
seems to me an exploit worthy of a witty man. I have felt in my very
blood, ever since I was born, a most unconquerable hatred towards the
whole tribe of fools, and it arises from the fact that I feel myself a
blockhead whenever I am in their company. I am very far from placing them
in the same class with those men whom we call stupid, for the latter are
stupid only from deficient education, and I rather like them. I have met
with some of them--very honest fellows, who, with all their stupidity,
had a kind of intelligence and an upright good sense, which cannot be the
characteristics of fools. They are like eyes veiled with the cataract,
which, if the disease could be removed, would be very beautiful.

Dear reader, examine the spirit of this preface, and you will at once
guess at my purpose. I have written a preface because I wish you to know
me thoroughly before you begin the reading of my Memoirs. It is only in a
coffee-room or at a table d'hote that we like to converse with strangers.

I have written the history of my life, and I have a perfect right to do
so; but am I wise in throwing it before a public of which I know nothing
but evil? No, I am aware it is sheer folly, but I want to be busy, I want
to laugh, and why should I deny myself this gratification?

   'Expulit elleboro morbum bilemque mero.'

An ancient author tells us somewhere, with the tone of a pedagogue, if
you have not done anything worthy of being recorded, at least write
something worthy of being read. It is a precept as beautiful as a diamond
of the first water cut in England, but it cannot be applied to me,
because I have not written either a novel, or the life of an illustrious
character. Worthy or not, my life is my subject, and my subject is my
life. I have lived without dreaming that I should ever take a fancy to
write the history of my life, and, for that very reason, my Memoirs may
claim from the reader an interest and a sympathy which they would not
have obtained, had I always entertained the design to write them in my
old age, and, still more, to publish them.

I have reached, in 1797, the age of three-score years and twelve; I can
not say, Vixi, and I could not procure a more agreeable pastime than to
relate my own adventures, and to cause pleasant laughter amongst the good
company listening to me, from which I have received so many tokens of
friendship, and in the midst of which I have ever lived. To enable me to
write well, I have only to think that my readers will belong to that
polite society:

   'Quoecunque dixi, si placuerint, dictavit auditor.'

Should there be a few intruders whom I can not prevent from perusing my
Memoirs, I must find comfort in the idea that my history was not written
for them.

By recollecting the pleasures I have had formerly, I renew them, I enjoy
them a second time, while I laugh at the remembrance of troubles now
past, and which I no longer feel. A member of this great universe, I
speak to the air, and I fancy myself rendering an account of my
administration, as a steward is wont to do before leaving his situation.
For my future I have no concern, and as a true philosopher, I never would
have any, for I know not what it may be: as a Christian, on the other
hand, faith must believe without discussion, and the stronger it is, the
more it keeps silent. I know that I have lived because I have felt, and,
feeling giving me the knowledge of my existence, I know likewise that I
shall exist no more when I shall have ceased to feel.

Should I perchance still feel after my death, I would no longer have any
doubt, but I would most certainly give the lie to anyone asserting before
me that I was dead.

The history of my life must begin by the earliest circumstance which my
memory can evoke; it will therefore commence when I had attained the age
of eight years and four months. Before that time, if to think is to live
be a true axiom, I did not live, I could only lay claim to a state of
vegetation. The mind of a human being is formed only of comparisons made
in order to examine analogies, and therefore cannot precede the existence
of memory. The mnemonic organ was developed in my head only eight years
and four months after my birth; it is then that my soul began to be
susceptible of receiving impressions. How is it possible for an
immaterial substance, which can neither touch nor be touched to receive
impressions? It is a mystery which man cannot unravel.

A certain philosophy, full of consolation, and in perfect accord with
religion, pretends that the state of dependence in which the soul stands
in relation to the senses and to the organs, is only incidental and
transient, and that it will reach a condition of freedom and happiness
when the death of the body shall have delivered it from that state of
tyrannic subjection. This is very fine, but, apart from religion, where
is the proof of it all? Therefore, as I cannot, from my own information,
have a perfect certainty of my being immortal until the dissolution of my
body has actually taken place, people must kindly bear with me, if I am
in no hurry to obtain that certain knowledge, for, in my estimation, a
knowledge to be gained at the cost of life is a rather expensive piece of
information. In the mean time I worship God, laying every wrong action
under an interdict which I endeavour to respect, and I loathe the wicked
without doing them any injury. I only abstain from doing them any good,
in the full belief that we ought not to cherish serpents.

As I must likewise say a few words respecting my nature and my
temperament, I premise that the most indulgent of my readers is not
likely to be the most dishonest or the least gifted with intelligence.

I have had in turn every temperament; phlegmatic in my infancy; sanguine
in my youth; later on, bilious; and now I have a disposition which
engenders melancholy, and most likely will never change. I always made my
food congenial to my constitution, and my health was always excellent. I
learned very early that our health is always impaired by some excess
either of food or abstinence, and I never had any physician except
myself. I am bound to add that the excess in too little has ever proved
in me more dangerous than the excess in too much; the last may cause
indigestion, but the first causes death.

Now, old as I am, and although enjoying good digestive organs, I must
have only one meal every day; but I find a set-off to that privation in
my delightful sleep, and in the ease which I experience in writing down
my thoughts without having recourse to paradox or sophism, which would be
calculated to deceive myself even more than my readers, for I never could
make up my mind to palm counterfeit coin upon them if I knew it to be
such.

The sanguine temperament rendered me very sensible to the attractions of
voluptuousness: I was always cheerful and ever ready to pass from one
enjoyment to another, and I was at the same time very skillful in
inventing new pleasures. Thence, I suppose, my natural disposition to
make fresh acquaintances, and to break with them so readily, although
always for a good reason, and never through mere fickleness. The errors
caused by temperament are not to be corrected, because our temperament is
perfectly independent of our strength: it is not the case with our
character. Heart and head are the constituent parts of character;
temperament has almost nothing to do with it, and, therefore, character
is dependent upon education, and is susceptible of being corrected and
improved.

I leave to others the decision as to the good or evil tendencies of my
character, but such as it is it shines upon my countenance, and there it
can easily be detected by any physiognomist. It is only on the fact that
character can be read; there it lies exposed to the view. It is worthy of
remark that men who have no peculiar cast of countenance, and there are a
great many such men, are likewise totally deficient in peculiar
characteristics, and we may establish the rule that the varieties in
physiognomy are equal to the differences in character. I am aware that
throughout my life my actions have received their impulse more from the
force of feeling than from the wisdom of reason, and this has led me to
acknowledge that my conduct has been dependent upon my nature more than
upon my mind; both are generally at war, and in the midst of their
continual collisions I have never found in me sufficient mind to balance
my nature, or enough strength in my nature to counteract the power of my
mind. But enough of this, for there is truth in the old saying: 'Si
brevis esse volo, obscurus fio', and I believe that, without offending
against modesty, I can apply to myself the following words of my dear
Virgil:

  'Nec sum adeo informis: nuper me in littore vidi
   Cum placidum ventis staret mare.'

The chief business of my life has always been to indulge my senses; I
never knew anything of greater importance. I felt myself born for the
fair sex, I have ever loved it dearly, and I have been loved by it as
often and as much as I could. I have likewise always had a great weakness
for good living, and I ever felt passionately fond of every object which
excited my curiosity.

I have had friends who have acted kindly towards me, and it has been my
good fortune to have it in my power to give them substantial proofs of my
gratitude. I have had also bitter enemies who have persecuted me, and
whom I have not crushed simply because I could not do it. I never would
have forgiven them, had I not lost the memory of all the injuries they
had heaped upon me. The man who forgets does not forgive, he only loses
the remembrance of the harm inflicted on him; forgiveness is the
offspring of a feeling of heroism, of a noble heart, of a generous mind,
whilst forgetfulness is only the result of a weak memory, or of an easy
carelessness, and still oftener of a natural desire for calm and
quietness. Hatred, in the course of time, kills the unhappy wretch who
delights in nursing it in his bosom.

Should anyone bring against me an accusation of sensuality he would be
wrong, for all the fierceness of my senses never caused me to neglect any
of my duties. For the same excellent reason, the accusation of
drunkenness ought not to have been brought against Homer:

   'Laudibus arguitur vini vinosus Homerus.'

I have always been fond of highly-seasoned, rich dishes, such as macaroni
prepared by a skilful Neapolitan cook, the olla-podrida of the Spaniards,
the glutinous codfish from Newfoundland, game with a strong flavour, and
cheese the perfect state of which is attained when the tiny animaculae
formed from its very essence begin to shew signs of life. As for women, I
have always found the odour of my beloved ones exceeding pleasant.

What depraved tastes! some people will exclaim. Are you not ashamed to
confess such inclinations without blushing! Dear critics, you make me
laugh heartily. Thanks to my coarse tastes, I believe myself happier than
other men, because I am convinced that they enhance my enjoyment. Happy
are those who know how to obtain pleasures without injury to anyone;
insane are those who fancy that the Almighty can enjoy the sufferings,
the pains, the fasts and abstinences which they offer to Him as a
sacrifice, and that His love is granted only to those who tax themselves
so foolishly. God can only demand from His creatures the practice of
virtues the seed of which He has sown in their soul, and all He has given
unto us has been intended for our happiness; self-love, thirst for
praise, emulation, strength, courage, and a power of which nothing can
deprive us--the power of self-destruction, if, after due calculation,
whether false or just, we unfortunately reckon death to be advantageous.
This is the strongest proof of our moral freedom so much attacked by
sophists. Yet this power of self-destruction is repugnant to nature, and
has been rightly opposed by every religion.

A so-called free-thinker told me at one time that I could not consider
myself a philosopher if I placed any faith in revelation. But when we
accept it readily in physics, why should we reject it in religious
matters? The form alone is the point in question. The spirit speaks to
the spirit, and not to the ears. The principles of everything we are
acquainted with must necessarily have been revealed to those from whom we
have received them by the great, supreme principle, which contains them
all. The bee erecting its hive, the swallow building its nest, the ant
constructing its cave, and the spider warping its web, would never have
done anything but for a previous and everlasting revelation. We must
either believe that it is so, or admit that matter is endowed with
thought. But as we dare not pay such a compliment to matter, let us stand
by revelation.

The great philosopher, who having deeply studied nature, thought he had
found the truth because he acknowledged nature as God, died too soon. Had
he lived a little while longer, he would have gone much farther, and yet
his journey would have been but a short one, for finding himself in his
Author, he could not have denied Him: In Him we move and have our being.
He would have found Him inscrutable, and thus would have ended his
journey.

God, great principle of all minor principles, God, who is Himself without
a principle, could not conceive Himself, if, in order to do it, He
required to know His own principle.

Oh, blissful ignorance! Spinosa, the virtuous Spinosa, died before he
could possess it. He would have died a learned man and with a right to
the reward his virtue deserved, if he had only supposed his soul to be
immortal!

It is not true that a wish for reward is unworthy of real virtue, and
throws a blemish upon its purity. Such a pretension, on the contrary,
helps to sustain virtue, man being himself too weak to consent to be
virtuous only for his own 'gratification. I hold as a myth that
Amphiaraus who preferred to be good than to seem good. In fact, I do not
believe there is an honest man alive without some pretension, and here is
mine.

I pretend to the friendship, to the esteem, to the gratitude of my
readers. I claim their gratitude, if my Memoirs can give them instruction
and pleasure; I claim their esteem if, rendering me justice, they find
more good qualities in me than faults, and I claim their friendship as
soon as they deem me worthy of it by the candour and the good faith with
which I abandon myself to their judgment, without disguise and exactly as
I am in reality. They will find that I have always had such sincere love
for truth, that I have often begun by telling stories for the purpose of
getting truth to enter the heads of those who could not appreciate its
charms. They will not form a wrong opinion of me when they see one
emptying the purse of my friends to satisfy my fancies, for those friends
entertained idle schemes, and by giving them the hope of success I
trusted to disappointment to cure them. I would deceive them to make them
wiser, and I did not consider myself guilty, for I applied to my own
enjoyment sums of money which would have been lost in the vain pursuit of
possessions denied by nature; therefore I was not actuated by any
avaricious rapacity. I might think myself guilty if I were rich now, but
I have nothing. I have squandered everything; it is my comfort and my
justification. The money was intended for extravagant follies, and by
applying it to my own frolics I did not turn it into a very different,
channel.

If I were deceived in my hope to please, I candidly confess I would
regret it, but not sufficiently so to repent having written my Memoirs,
for, after all, writing them has given me pleasure. Oh, cruel ennui! It
must be by mistake that those who have invented the torments of hell have
forgotten to ascribe thee the first place among them. Yet I am bound to
own that I entertain a great fear of hisses; it is too natural a fear for
me to boast of being insensible to them, and I cannot find any solace in
the idea that, when these Memoirs are published, I shall be no more. I
cannot think without a shudder of contracting any obligation towards
death: I hate death; for, happy or miserable, life is the only blessing
which man possesses, and those who do not love it are unworthy of it. If
we prefer honour to life, it is because life is blighted by infamy; and
if, in the alternative, man sometimes throws away his life, philosophy
must remain silent.

Oh, death, cruel death! Fatal law which nature necessarily rejects
because thy very office is to destroy nature! Cicero says that death
frees us from all pains and sorrows, but this great philosopher books all
the expense without taking the receipts into account. I do not recollect
if, when he wrote his 'Tusculan Disputations', his own Tullia was dead.
Death is a monster which turns away from the great theatre an attentive
hearer before the end of the play which deeply interests him, and this is
reason enough to hate it.

All my adventures are not to be found in these Memoirs; I have left out
those which might have offended the persons who have played a sorry part
therein. In spite of this reserve, my readers will perhaps often think me
indiscreet, and I am sorry for it. Should I perchance become wiser before
I give up the ghost, I might burn every one of these sheets, but now I
have not courage enough to do it.

It may be that certain love scenes will be considered too explicit, but
let no one blame me, unless it be for lack of skill, for I ought not to
be scolded because, in my old age, I can find no other enjoyment but that
which recollections of the past afford to me. After all, virtuous and
prudish readers are at liberty to skip over any offensive pictures, and I
think it my duty to give them this piece of advice; so much the worse for
those who may not read my preface; it is no fault of mine if they do not,
for everyone ought to know that a preface is to a book what the play-bill
is to a comedy; both must be read.

My Memoirs are not written for young persons who, in order to avoid false
steps and slippery roads, ought to spend their youth in blissful
ignorance, but for those who, having thorough experience of life, are no
longer exposed to temptation, and who, having but too often gone through
the fire, are like salamanders, and can be scorched by it no more. True
virtue is but a habit, and I have no hesitation in saying that the really
virtuous are those persons who can practice virtue without the slightest
trouble; such persons are always full of toleration, and it is to them
that my Memoirs are addressed.

I have written in French, and not in Italian, because the French language
is more universal than mine, and the purists, who may criticise in my
style some Italian turns will be quite right, but only in case it should
prevent them from understanding me clearly. The Greeks admired
Theophrastus in spite of his Eresian style, and the Romans delighted in
their Livy in spite of his Patavinity. Provided I amuse my readers, it
seems to me that I can claim the same indulgence. After all, every
Italian reads Algarotti with pleasure, although his works are full of
French idioms.

There is one thing worthy of notice: of all the living languages
belonging to the republic of letters, the French tongue is the only one
which has been condemned by its masters never to borrow in order to
become richer, whilst all other languages, although richer in words than
the French, plunder from it words and constructions of sentences,
whenever they find that by such robbery they add something to their own
beauty. Yet those who borrow the most from the French, are the most
forward in trumpeting the poverty of that language, very likely thinking
that such an accusation justifies their depredations. It is said that the
French language has attained the apogee of its beauty, and that the
smallest foreign loan would spoil it, but I make bold to assert that this
is prejudice, for, although it certainly is the most clear, the most
logical of all languages, it would be great temerity to affirm that it
can never go farther or higher than it has gone. We all recollect that,
in the days of Lulli, there was but one opinion of his music, yet Rameau
came and everything was changed. The new impulse given to the French
nation may open new and unexpected horizons, and new beauties, fresh
perfections, may spring up from new combinations and from new wants.

The motto I have adopted justifies my digressions, and all the
commentaries, perhaps too numerous, in which I indulge upon my various
exploits: 'Nequidquam sapit qui sibi non sapit'. For the same reason I
have always felt a great desire to receive praise and applause from
polite society:

  'Excitat auditor stadium, laudataque virtus
   Crescit, et immensum gloria calcar habet.

I would willingly have displayed here the proud axiom: 'Nemo laeditur
nisi a se ipso', had I not feared to offend the immense number of persons
who, whenever anything goes wrong with them, are wont to exclaim, "It is
no fault of mine!" I cannot deprive them of that small particle of
comfort, for, were it not for it, they would soon feel hatred for
themselves, and self-hatred often leads to the fatal idea of
self-destruction.

As for myself I always willingly acknowledge my own self as the principal
cause of every good or of every evil which may befall me; therefore I
have always found myself capable of being my own pupil, and ready to love
my teacher.





THE MEMOIRS OF JACQUES CASANOVA




VENETIAN YEARS




EPISODE 1 -- CHILDHOOD




CHAPTER I

     My Family Pedigree--My Childhood

Don Jacob Casanova, the illegitimate son of Don Francisco Casanova, was a
native of Saragosa, the capital of Aragon, and in the year of 1428 he
carried off Dona Anna Palofax from her convent, on the day after she had
taken the veil. He was secretary to King Alfonso. He ran away with her to
Rome, where, after one year of imprisonment, the pope, Martin III.,
released Anna from her vows, and gave them the nuptial blessing at the
instance of Don Juan Casanova, majordomo of the Vatican, and uncle of Don
Jacob. All the children born from that marriage died in their infancy,
with the exception of Don Juan, who, in 1475, married Donna Eleonora
Albini, by whom he had a son, Marco Antonio.

In 1481, Don Juan, having killed an officer of the king of Naples, was
compelled to leave Rome, and escaped to Como with his wife and his son;
but having left that city to seek his fortune, he died while traveling
with Christopher Columbus in the year 1493.

Marco Antonio became a noted poet of the school of Martial, and was
secretary to Cardinal Pompeo Colonna.

The satire against Giulio de Medicis, which we find in his works, having
made it necessary for him to leave Rome, he returned to Como, where he
married Abondia Rezzonica. The same Giulio de Medicis, having become pope
under the name of Clement VII, pardoned him and called him back to Rome
with his wife. The city having been taken and ransacked by the
Imperialists in 1526, Marco Antonio died there from an attack of the
plague; otherwise he would have died of misery, the soldiers of Charles
V. having taken all he possessed. Pierre Valerien speaks of him in his
work 'de infelicitate litteratorum'.

Three months after his death, his wife gave birth to Jacques Casanova,
who died in France at a great age, colonel in the army commanded by
Farnese against Henri, king of Navarre, afterwards king of France. He had
left in the city of Parma a son who married Theresa Conti, from whom he
had Jacques, who, in the year 1681, married Anna Roli. Jacques had two
sons, Jean-Baptiste and Gaetan-Joseph-Jacques. The eldest left Parma in
1712, and was never heard of; the other also went away in 1715, being
only nineteen years old.

This is all I have found in my father's diary: from my mother's lips I
have heard the following particulars:

Gaetan-Joseph-Jacques left his family, madly in love with an actress
named Fragoletta, who performed the chambermaids. In his poverty, he
determined to earn a living by making the most of his own person. At
first he gave himself up to dancing, and five years afterwards became an
actor, making himself conspicuous by his conduct still more than by his
talent.

Whether from fickleness or from jealousy, he abandoned the Fragoletta,
and joined in Venice a troop of comedians then giving performances at the
Saint-Samuel Theatre. Opposite the house in which he had taken his
lodging resided a shoemaker, by name Jerome Farusi, with his wife Marzia,
and Zanetta, their only daughter--a perfect beauty sixteen years of age.
The young actor fell in love with this girl, succeeded in gaining her
affection, and in obtaining her consent to a runaway match. It was the
only way to win her, for, being an actor, he never could have had
Marzia's consent, still less Jerome's, as in their eyes a player was a
most awful individual. The young lovers, provided with the necessary
certificates and accompanied by two witnesses, presented themselves
before the Patriarch of Venice, who performed over them the marriage
ceremony. Marzia, Zanetta's mother, indulged in a good deal of
exclamation, and the father died broken-hearted.

I was born nine months afterwards, on the 2nd of April, 1725.

The following April my mother left me under the care of her own mother,
who had forgiven her as soon as she had heard that my father had promised
never to compel her to appear on the stage. This is a promise which all
actors make to the young girls they marry, and which they never fulfil,
simply because their wives never care much about claiming from them the
performance of it. Moreover, it turned out a very fortunate thing for my
mother that she had studied for the stage, for nine years later, having
been left a widow with six children, she could not have brought them up
if it had not been for the resources she found in that profession.

I was only one year old when my father left me to go to London, where he
had an engagement. It was in that great city that my mother made her
first appearance on the stage, and in that city likewise that she gave
birth to my brother Francois, a celebrated painter of battles, now
residing in Vienna, where he has followed his profession since 1783.

Towards the end of the year 1728 my mother returned to Venice with her
husband, and as she had become an actress she continued her artistic
life. In 1730 she was delivered of my brother Jean, who became Director
of the Academy of painting at Dresden, and died there in 1795; and during
the three following years she became the mother of two daughters, one of
whom died at an early age, while the other married in Dresden, where she
still lived in 1798. I had also a posthumous brother, who became a
priest; he died in Rome fifteen years ago.

Let us now come to the dawn of my existence in the character of a
thinking being.

The organ of memory began to develop itself in me at the beginning of
August, 1733. I had at that time reached the age of eight years and four
months. Of what may have happened to me before that period I have not the
faintest recollection. This is the circumstance.

I was standing in the corner of a room bending towards the wall,
supporting my head, and my eyes fixed upon a stream of blood flowing from
my nose to the ground. My grandmother, Marzia, whose pet I was, came to
me, bathed my face with cold water, and, unknown to everyone in the
house, took me with her in a gondola as far as Muran, a thickly-populated
island only half a league distant from Venice.

Alighting from the gondola, we enter a wretched hole, where we find an
old woman sitting on a rickety bed, holding a black cat in her arms, with
five or six more purring around her. The two old cronies held together a
long discourse of which, most likely, I was the subject. At the end of
the dialogue, which was carried on in the patois of Forli, the witch
having received a silver ducat from my grandmother, opened a box, took me
in her arms, placed me in the box and locked me in it, telling me not to
be frightened--a piece of advice which would certainly have had the
contrary effect, if I had had any wits about me, but I was stupefied. I
kept myself quiet in a corner of the box, holding a handkerchief to my
nose because it was still bleeding, and otherwise very indifferent to the
uproar going on outside. I could hear in turn, laughter, weeping,
singing, screams, shrieks, and knocking against the box, but for all that
I cared nought. At last I am taken out of the box; the blood stops
flowing. The wonderful old witch, after lavishing caresses upon me, takes
off my clothes, lays me on the bed, burns some drugs, gathers the smoke
in a sheet which she wraps around me, pronounces incantations, takes the
sheet off me, and gives me five sugar-plums of a very agreeable taste.
Then she immediately rubs my temples and the nape of my neck with an
ointment exhaling a delightful perfume, and puts my clothes on me again.
She told me that my haemorrhage would little by little leave me, provided
I should never disclose to any one what she had done to cure me, and she
threatened me, on the other hand, with the loss of all my blood and with
death, should I ever breathe a word concerning those mysteries. After
having thus taught me my lesson, she informed me that a beautiful lady
would pay me a visit during the following night, and that she would make
me happy, on condition that I should have sufficient control over myself
never to mention to anyone my having received such a visit. Upon this we
left and returned home.

I fell asleep almost as soon as I was in bed, without giving a thought to
the beautiful visitor I was to receive; but, waking up a few hours
afterwards, I saw, or fancied I saw, coming down the chimney, a dazzling
woman, with immense hoops, splendidly attired, and wearing on her head a
crown set with precious stones, which seemed to me sparkling with fire.
With slow steps, but with a majestic and sweet countenance, she came
forward and sat on my bed; then taking several small boxes from her
pocket, she emptied their contents over my head, softly whispering a few
words, and after giving utterance to a long speech, not a single word of
which I understood, she kissed me and disappeared the same way she had
come. I soon went again to sleep.

The next morning, my grandmother came to dress me, and the moment she was
near my bed, she cautioned me to be silent, threatening me with death if
I dared to say anything respecting my night's adventures. This command,
laid upon me by the only woman who had complete authority over me, and
whose orders I was accustomed to obey blindly, caused me to remember the
vision, and to store it, with the seal of secrecy, in the inmost corner
of my dawning memory. I had not, however, the slightest inclination to
mention the circumstances to anyone; in the first place, because I did
not suppose it would interest anybody, and in the second because I would
not have known whom to make a confidant of. My disease had rendered me
dull and retired; everybody pitied me and left me to myself; my life was
considered likely to be but a short one, and as to my parents, they never
spoke to me.

After the journey to Muran, and the nocturnal visit of the fairy, I
continued to have bleeding at the nose, but less from day to day, and my
memory slowly developed itself. I learned to read in less than a month.

It would be ridiculous, of course, to attribute this cure to such
follies, but at the same time I think it would be wrong to assert that
they did not in any way contribute to it. As far as the apparition of the
beautiful queen is concerned, I have always deemed it to be a dream,
unless it should have been some masquerade got up for the occasion, but
it is not always in the druggist's shop that are found the best remedies
for severe diseases. Our ignorance is every day proved by some wonderful
phenomenon, and I believe this to be the reason why it is so difficult to
meet with a learned man entirely untainted with superstition. We know, as
a matter of course, that there never have been any sorcerers in this
world, yet it is true that their power has always existed in the
estimation of those to whom crafty knaves have passed themselves off as
such. 'Somnio nocturnos lemures portentaque Thessalia vides'.

Many things become real which, at first, had no existence but in our
imagination, and, as a natural consequence, many facts which have been
attributed to Faith may not always have been miraculous, although they
are true miracles for those who lend to Faith a boundless power.

The next circumstance of any importance to myself which I recollect
happened three months after my trip to Muran, and six weeks before my
father's death. I give it to my readers only to convey some idea of the
manner in which my nature was expanding.

One day, about the middle of November, I was with my brother Francois,
two years younger than I, in my father's room, watching him attentively
as he was working at optics. A large lump of crystal, round and cut into
facets, attracted my attention. I took it up, and having brought it near
my eyes I was delighted to see that it multiplied objects. The wish to
possess myself of it at once got hold of me, and seeing myself unobserved
I took my opportunity and hid it in my pocket.

A few minutes after this my father looked about for his crystal, and
unable to find it, he concluded that one of us must have taken it. My
brother asserted that he had not touched it, and I, although guilty, said
the same; but my father, satisfied that he could not be mistaken,
threatened to search us and to thrash the one who had told him a story. I
pretended to look for the crystal in every corner of the room, and,
watching my opportunity I slyly slipped it in the pocket of my brother's
jacket. At first I was sorry for what I had done, for I might as well
have feigned to find the crystal somewhere about the room; but the evil
deed was past recall. My father, seeing that we were looking in vain,
lost patience, searched us, found the unlucky ball of crystal in the
pocket of the innocent boy, and inflicted upon him the promised
thrashing. Three or four years later I was foolish enough to boast before
my brother of the trick I had then played on him; he never forgave me,
and has never failed to take his revenge whenever the opportunity
offered.

However, having at a later period gone to confession, and accused myself
to the priest of the sin with every circumstance surrounding it, I gained
some knowledge which afforded me great satisfaction. My confessor, who
was a Jesuit, told me that by that deed I had verified the meaning of my
first name, Jacques, which, he said, meant, in Hebrew, "supplanter," and
that God had changed for that reason the name of the ancient patriarch
into that of Israel, which meant "knowing." He had deceived his brother
Esau.

Six weeks after the above adventure my father was attacked with an
abscess in the head which carried him off in a week. Dr. Zambelli first
gave him oppilative remedies, and, seeing his mistake, he tried to mend
it by administering castoreum, which sent his patient into convulsions
and killed him. The abscess broke out through the ear one minute after
his death, taking its leave after killing him, as if it had no longer any
business with him. My father departed this life in the very prime of his
manhood. He was only thirty-six years of age, but he was followed to his
grave by the regrets of the public, and more particularly of all the
patricians amongst whom he was held as above his profession, not less on
account of his gentlemanly behaviour than on account of his extensive
knowledge in mechanics.

Two days before his death, feeling that his end was at hand, my father
expressed a wish to see us all around his bed, in the presence of his
wife and of the Messieurs Grimani, three Venetian noblemen whose
protection he wished to entreat in our favour. After giving us his
blessing, he requested our mother, who was drowned in tears, to give her
sacred promise that she would not educate any of us for the stage, on
which he never would have appeared himself had he not been led to it by
an unfortunate attachment. My mother gave her promise, and the three
noblemen said that they would see to its being faithfully kept.
Circumstances helped our mother to fulfill her word.

At that time my mother had been pregnant for six months, and she was
allowed to remain away from the stage until after Easter. Beautiful and
young as she was, she declined all the offers of marriage which were made
to her, and, placing her trust in Providence, she courageously devoted
herself to the task of bringing up her young family.

She considered it a duty to think of me before the others, not so much
from a feeling of preference as in consequence of my disease, which had
such an effect upon me that it was difficult to know what to do with me.
I was very weak, without any appetite, unable to apply myself to
anything, and I had all the appearance of an idiot. Physicians disagreed
as to the cause of the disease. He loses, they would say, two pounds of
blood every week; yet there cannot be more than sixteen or eighteen
pounds in his body. What, then, can cause so abundant a bleeding? One
asserted that in me all the chyle turned into blood; another was of
opinion that the air I was breathing must, at each inhalation, increase
the quantity of blood in my lungs, and contended that this was the reason
for which I always kept my mouth open. I heard of it all six years
afterward from M. Baffo, a great friend of my late father.

This M. Baffo consulted the celebrated Doctor Macop, of Padua, who sent
him his opinion by writing. This consultation, which I have still in my
possession, says that our blood is an elastic fluid which is liable to
diminish or to increase in thickness, but never in quantity, and that my
haemorrhage could only proceed from the thickness of the mass of my
blood, which relieved itself in a natural way in order to facilitate
circulation. The doctor added that I would have died long before, had not
nature, in its wish for life, assisted itself, and he concluded by
stating that the cause of the thickness of my blood could only be
ascribed to the air I was breathing and that consequently I must have a
change of air, or every hope of cure be abandoned. He thought likewise,
that the stupidity so apparent on my countenance was caused by nothing
else but the thickness of my blood.

M. Baffo, a man of sublime genius, a most lascivious, yet a great and
original poet, was therefore instrumental in bringing about the decision
which was then taken to send me to Padua, and to him I am indebted for my
life. He died twenty years after, the last of his ancient patrician
family, but his poems, although obscene, will give everlasting fame to
his name. The state-inquisitors of Venice have contributed to his
celebrity by their mistaken strictness. Their persecutions caused his
manuscript works to become precious. They ought to have been aware that
despised things are forgotten.

As soon as the verdict given by Professor Macop had been approved of, the
Abbe Grimani undertook to find a good boarding-house in Padua for me,
through a chemist of his acquaintance who resided in that city. His name
was Ottaviani, and he was also an antiquarian of some repute. In a few
days the boarding-house was found, and on the 2nd day of April, 1734, on
the very day I had accomplished my ninth year, I was taken to Padua in a
'burchiello', along the Brenta Canal. We embarked at ten o'clock in the
evening, immediately after supper.

The 'burchiello' may be considered a small floating house. There is a
large saloon with a smaller cabin at each end, and rooms for servants
fore and aft. It is a long square with a roof, and cut on each side by
glazed windows with shutters. The voyage takes eight hours. M. Grimani,
M. Baffo, and my mother accompanied me. I slept with her in the saloon,
and the two friends passed the night in one of the cabins. My mother rose
at day break, opened one of the windows facing the bed, and the rays of
the rising sun, falling on my eyes, caused me to open them. The bed was
too low for me to see the land; I could see through the window only the
tops of the trees along the river. The boat was sailing with such an even
movement that I could not realize the fact of our moving, so that the
trees, which, one after the other, were rapidly disappearing from my
sight, caused me an extreme surprise. "Ah, dear mother!" I exclaimed,
"what is this? the trees are walking!" At that very moment the two
noblemen came in, and reading astonishment on my countenance, they asked
me what my thoughts were so busy about. "How is it," I answered, "that
the trees are walking."

They all laughed, but my mother, heaving a great sigh, told me, in a tone
of deep pity, "The boat is moving, the trees are not. Now dress
yourself."

I understood at once the reason of the phenomenon. "Then it may be," said
I, "that the sun does not move, and that we, on the contrary, are
revolving from west to east." At these words my good mother fairly
screamed. M. Grimani pitied my foolishness, and I remained dismayed,
grieved, and ready to cry. M. Baffo brought me life again. He rushed to
me, embraced me tenderly, and said, "Thou are right, my child. The sun
does not move; take courage, give heed to your reasoning powers and let
others laugh."

My mother, greatly surprised, asked him whether he had taken leave of his
senses to give me such lessons; but the philosopher, not even
condescending to answer her, went on sketching a theory in harmony with
my young and simple intelligence. This was the first real pleasure I
enjoyed in my life. Had it not been for M. Baffo, this circumstance might
have been enough to degrade my understanding; the weakness of credulity
would have become part of my mind. The ignorance of the two others would
certainly have blunted in me the edge of a faculty which, perhaps, has
not carried me very far in my after life, but to which alone I feel that
I am indebted for every particle of happiness I enjoy when I look into
myself.

We reached Padua at an early hour and went to Ottaviani's house; his wife
loaded me with caresses. I found there five or six children, amongst them
a girl of eight years, named Marie, and another of seven, Rose, beautiful
as a seraph. Ten years later Marie became the wife of the broker Colonda,
and Rose, a few years afterwards, married a nobleman, Pierre Marcello,
and had one son and two daughters, one of whom was wedded to M. Pierre
Moncenigo, and the other to a nobleman of the Carrero family. This last
marriage was afterwards nullified. I shall have, in the course of events,
to speak of all these persons, and that is my reason for mentioning their
names here.

Ottaviani took us at once to the house where I was to board. It was only
a few yards from his own residence, at Sainte-Marie d'Advance, in the
parish of Saint-Michel, in the house of an old Sclavonian woman, who let
the first floor to Signora Mida, wife of a Sclavonian colonel. My small
trunk was laid open before the old woman, to whom was handed an inventory
of all its contents, together with six sequins for six months paid in
advance. For this small sum she undertook to feed me, to keep me clean,
and to send me to a day-school. Protesting that it was not enough, she
accepted these terms. I was kissed and strongly commanded to be always
obedient and docile, and I was left with her.

In this way did my family get rid of me.





CHAPTER II

     My Grandmother Comes to Padua, and Takes Me to Dr. Gozzi's
     School--My First Love Affair

As soon as I was left alone with the Sclavonian woman, she took me up to
the garret, where she pointed out my bed in a row with four others, three
of which belonged to three young boys of my age, who at that moment were
at school, and the fourth to a servant girl whose province it was to
watch us and to prevent the many peccadilloes in which school-boys are
wont to indulge. After this visit we came downstairs, and I was taken to
the garden with permission to walk about until dinner-time.

I felt neither happy nor unhappy; I had nothing to say. I had neither
fear nor hope, nor even a feeling of curiosity; I was neither cheerful
nor sad. The only thing which grated upon me was the face of the mistress
of the house. Although I had not the faintest idea either of beauty or of
ugliness, her face, her countenance, her tone of voice, her language,
everything in that woman was repulsive to me. Her masculine features
repelled me every time I lifted my eyes towards her face to listen to
what she said to me. She was tall and coarse like a trooper; her
complexion was yellow, her hair black, her eyebrows long and thick, and
her chin gloried in a respectable bristly beard: to complete the picture,
her hideous, half-naked bosom was hanging half-way down her long chest;
she may have been about fifty. The servant was a stout country girl, who
did all the work of the house; the garden was a square of some thirty
feet, which had no other beauty than its green appearance.

Towards noon my three companions came back from school, and they at once
spoke to me as if we had been old acquaintances, naturally giving me
credit for such intelligence as belonged to my age, but which I did not
possess. I did not answer them, but they were not baffled, and they at
last prevailed upon me to share their innocent pleasures. I had to run,
to carry and be carried, to turn head over heels, and I allowed myself to
be initiated into those arts with a pretty good grace until we were
summoned to dinner. I sat down to the table; but seeing before me a
wooden spoon, I pushed it back, asking for my silver spoon and fork to
which I was much attached, because they were a gift from my good old
granny. The servant answered that the mistress wished to maintain
equality between the boys, and I had to submit, much to my disgust.
Having thus learned that equality in everything was the rule of the
house, I went to work like the others and began to eat the soup out of
the common dish, and if I did not complain of the rapidity with which my
companions made it disappear, I could not help wondering at such
inequality being allowed. To follow this very poor soup, we had a small
portion of dried cod and one apple each, and dinner was over: it was in
Lent. We had neither glasses nor cups, and we all helped ourselves out of
the same earthen pitcher to a miserable drink called graspia, which is
made by boiling in water the stems of grapes stripped of their fruit.
From the following day I drank nothing but water. This way of living
surprised me, for I did not know whether I had a right to complain of it.
After dinner the servant took me to the school, kept by a young priest,
Doctor Gozzi, with whom the Sclavonian woman had bargained for my
schooling at the rate of forty sous a month, or the eleventh part of a
sequin.

The first thing to do was to teach me writing, and I was placed amongst
children of five and six years, who did not fail to turn me into ridicule
on account of my age.

On my return to the boarding-house I had my supper, which, as a matter of
course, was worse than the dinner, and I could not make out why the right
of complaint should be denied me. I was then put to bed, but there three
well-known species of vermin kept me awake all night, besides the rats,
which, running all over the garret, jumped on my bed and fairly made my
blood run cold with fright. This is the way in which I began to feel
misery, and to learn how to suffer it patiently. The vermin, which
feasted upon me, lessened my fear of the rats, and by a very lucky system
of compensation, the dread of the rats made me less sensitive to the
bites of the vermin. My mind was reaping benefit from the very struggle
fought between the evils which surrounded me. The servant was perfectly
deaf to my screaming.

As soon as it was daylight I ran out of the wretched garret, and, after
complaining to the girl of all I had endured during the night, I asked
her to give me a Clean shirt, the one I had on being disgusting to look
at, but she answered that I could only change my linen on a Sunday, and
laughed at me when I threatened to complain to the mistress. For the
first time in my life I shed tears of sorrow and of anger, when I heard
my companions scoffing at me. The poor wretches shared my unhappy
condition, but they were used to it, and that makes all the difference.

Sorely depressed, I went to school, but only to sleep soundly through the
morning. One of my comrades, in the hope of turning the affair into
ridicule at my expense, told the doctor the reason of my being so sleepy.
The good priest, however, to whom without doubt Providence had guided me,
called me into his private room, listened to all I had to say, saw with
his own eyes the proofs of my misery, and moved by the sight of the
blisters which disfigured my innocent skin, he took up his cloak, went
with me to my boarding-house, and shewed the woman the state I was in.
She put on a look of great astonishment, and threw all the blame upon the
servant. The doctor being curious to see my bed, I was, as much as he
was, surprised at the filthy state of the sheets in which I had passed
the night. The accursed woman went on blaming the servant, and said that
she would discharge her; but the girl, happening to be close by, and not
relishing the accusation, told her boldly that the fault was her own, and
she then threw open the beds of my companions to shew us that they did
not experience any better treatment. The mistress, raving, slapped her on
the face, and the servant, to be even with her, returned the compliment
and ran away. The doctor left me there, saying that I could not enter his
school unless I was sent to him as clean as the other boys. The result
for me was a very sharp rebuke, with the threat, as a finishing stroke,
that if I ever caused such a broil again, I would be ignominiously turned
out of the house.

I could not make it out; I had just entered life, and I had no knowledge
of any other place but the house in which I had been born, in which I had
been brought up, and in which I had always seen cleanliness and honest
comfort. Here I found myself ill-treated, scolded, although it did not
seem possible that any blame could be attached to me. At last the old
shrew tossed a shirt in my face, and an hour later I saw a new servant
changing the sheets, after which we had our dinner.

My schoolmaster took particular care in instructing me. He gave me a seat
at his own desk, and in order to shew my proper appreciation of such a
favour, I gave myself up to my studies; at the end of the first month I
could write so well that I was promoted to the grammar class.

The new life I was leading, the half-starvation system to which I was
condemned, and most likely more than everything else, the air of Padua,
brought me health such as I had never enjoyed before, but that very state
of blooming health made it still more difficult for me to bear the hunger
which I was compelled to endure; it became unbearable. I was growing
rapidly; I enjoyed nine hours of deep sleep, unbroken by any dreams, save
that I always fancied myself sitting at a well-spread table, and
gratifying my cruel appetite, but every morning I could realize in full
the vanity and the unpleasant disappointment of flattering dreams! This
ravenous appetite would at last have weakened me to death, had I not made
up my mind to pounce upon, and to swallow, every kind of eatables I could
find, whenever I was certain of not being seen.

Necessity begets ingenuity. I had spied in a cupboard of the kitchen some
fifty red herrings; I devoured them all one after the other, as well as
all the sausages which were hanging in the chimney to be smoked; and in
order to accomplish those feats without being detected, I was in the
habit of getting up at night and of undertaking my foraging expeditions
under the friendly veil of darkness. Every new-laid egg I could discover
in the poultry-yard, quite warm and scarcely dropped by the hen, was a
most delicious treat. I would even go as far as the kitchen of the
schoolmaster in the hope of pilfering something to eat.

The Sclavonian woman, in despair at being unable to catch the thieves,
turned away servant after servant. But, in spite of all my expeditions,
as I could not always find something to steal, I was as thin as a walking
skeleton.

My progress at school was so rapid during four or five months that the
master promoted me to the rank of dux. My province was to examine the
lessons of my thirty school-fellows, to correct their mistakes and report
to the master with whatever note of blame or of approval I thought they
deserved; but my strictness did not last long, for idle boys soon found
out the way to enlist my sympathy. When their Latin lesson was full of
mistakes, they would buy me off with cutlets and roast chickens; they
even gave me money. These proceedings excited my covetousness, or,
rather, my gluttony, and, not satisfied with levying a tax upon the
ignorant, I became a tyrant, and I refused well-merited approbation to
all those who declined paying the contribution I demanded. At last,
unable to bear my injustice any longer, the boys accused me, and the
master, seeing me convicted of extortion, removed me from my exalted
position. I would very likely have fared badly after my dismissal, had
not Fate decided to put an end to my cruel apprenticeship.

Doctor Gozzi, who was attached to me, called me privately one day into
his study, and asked me whether I would feel disposed to carry out the
advice he would give me in order to bring about my removal from the house
of the Sclavonian woman, and my admission in his own family. Finding me
delighted at such an offer, he caused me to copy three letters which I
sent, one to the Abbe Grimani, another to my friend Baffo, and the last
to my excellent grandam. The half-year was nearly out, and my mother not
being in Venice at that period there was no time to lose.

In my letters I gave a description of all my sufferings, and I
prognosticated my death were I not immediately removed from my
boarding-house and placed under the care of my school-master, who was
disposed to receive me; but he wanted two sequins a month.

M. Grimani did not answer me, and commissioned his friend Ottaviani to
scold me for allowing myself to be ensnared by the doctor; but M. Baffo
went to consult with my grandmother, who could not write, and in a letter
which he addressed to me he informed me that I would soon find myself in
a happier situation. And, truly, within a week the excellent old woman,
who loved me until her death, made her appearance as I was sitting down
to my dinner. She came in with the mistress of the house, and the moment
I saw her I threw my arms around her neck, crying bitterly, in which
luxury the old lady soon joined me. She sat down and took me on her
knees; my courage rose again. In the presence of the Sclavonian woman I
enumerated all my grievances, and after calling her attention to the
food, fit only for beggars, which I was compelled to swallow, I took her
upstairs to shew her my bed. I begged her to take me out and give me a
good dinner after six months of such starvation. The boarding-house
keeper boldly asserted that she could not afford better for the amount
she had received, and there was truth in that, but she had no business to
keep house and to become the tormentor of poor children who were thrown
on her hands by stinginess, and who required to be properly fed.

My grandmother very quietly intimated her intention to take me away
forthwith, and asked her to put all my things in my trunk. I cannot
express my joy during these preparations. For the first time I felt that
kind of happiness which makes forgiveness compulsory upon the being who
enjoys it, and causes him to forget all previous unpleasantness. My
grandmother took me to the inn, and dinner was served, but she could
hardly eat anything in her astonishment at the voracity with which I was
swallowing my food. In the meantime Doctor Gozzi, to whom she had sent
notice of her arrival, came in, and his appearance soon prepossessed her
in his favour. He was then a fine-looking priest, twenty-six years of
age, chubby, modest, and respectful. In less than a quarter of an hour
everything was satisfactorily arranged between them. The good old lady
counted out twenty-four sequins for one year of my schooling, and took a
receipt for the same, but she kept me with her for three days in order to
have me clothed like a priest, and to get me a wig, as the filthy state
of my hair made it necessary to have it all cut off.

At the end of the three days she took me to the doctor's house, so as to
see herself to my installation and to recommend me to the doctor's
mother, who desired her to send or to buy in Padua a bedstead and
bedding; but the doctor having remarked that, his own bed being very
wide, I might sleep with him, my grandmother expressed her gratitude for
all his kindness, and we accompanied her as far as the burchiello she had
engaged to return to Venice.

The family of Doctor Gozzi was composed of his mother, who had great
reverence for him, because, a peasant by birth, she did not think herself
worthy of having a son who was a priest, and still more a doctor in
divinity; she was plain, old, and cross; and of his father, a shoemaker
by trade, working all day long and never addressing a word to anyone, not
even during the meals. He only became a sociable being on holidays, on
which occasions he would spend his time with his friends in some tavern,
coming home at midnight as drunk as a lord and singing verses from Tasso.
When in this blissful state the good man could not make up his mind to go
to bed, and became violent if anyone attempted to compel him to lie down.
Wine alone gave him sense and spirit, for when sober he was incapable of
attending to the simplest family matter, and his wife often said that he
never would have married her had not his friends taken care to give him a
good breakfast before he went to the church.

But Doctor Gozzi had also a sister, called Bettina, who at the age of
thirteen was pretty, lively, and a great reader of romances. Her father
and mother scolded her constantly because she was too often looking out
of the window, and the doctor did the same on account of her love for
reading. This girl took at once my fancy without my knowing why, and
little by little she kindled in my heart the first spark of a passion
which, afterwards became in me the ruling one.

Six months after I had been an inmate in the house, the doctor found
himself without scholars; they all went away because I had become the
sole object of his affection. He then determined to establish a college,
and to receive young boys as boarders; but two years passed before he met
with any success. During that period he taught me everything he knew;
true, it was not much; yet it was enough to open to me the high road to
all sciences. He likewise taught me the violin, an accomplishment which
proved very useful to me in a peculiar circumstance, the particulars of
which I will give in good time. The excellent doctor, who was in no way a
philosopher, made me study the logic of the Peripatetics, and the
cosmography of the ancient system of Ptolemy, at which I would laugh,
teasing the poor doctor with theorems to which he could find no answer.
His habits, moreover, were irreproachable, and in all things connected
with religion, although no bigot, he was of the greatest strictness, and,
admitting everything as an article of faith, nothing appeared difficult
to his conception. He believed the deluge to have been universal, and he
thought that, before that great cataclysm, men lived a thousand years and
conversed with God, that Noah took one hundred years to build the ark,
and that the earth, suspended in the air, is firmly held in the very
centre of the universe which God had created from nothing. When I would
say and prove that it was absurd to believe in the existence of
nothingness, he would stop me short and call me a fool.

He could enjoy a good bed, a glass of wine, and cheerfulness at home. He
did not admire fine wits, good jests or criticism, because it easily
turns to slander, and he would laugh at the folly of men reading
newspapers which, in his opinion, always lied and constantly repeated the
same things. He asserted that nothing was more troublesome than
incertitude, and therefore he condemned thought because it gives birth to
doubt.

His ruling passion was preaching, for which his face and his voice
qualified him; his congregation was almost entirely composed of women of
whom, however, he was the sworn enemy; so much so, that he would not look
them in the face even when he spoke to them. Weakness of the flesh and
fornication appeared to him the most monstrous of sins, and he would be
very angry if I dared to assert that, in my estimation, they were the
most venial of faults. His sermons were crammed with passages from the
Greek authors, which he translated into Latin. One day I ventured to
remark that those passages ought to be translated into Italian because
women did not understand Latin any more than Greek, but he took offence,
and I never had afterwards the courage to allude any more to the matter.
Moreover he praised me to his friends as a wonder, because I had learned
to read Greek alone, without any assistance but a grammar.

During Lent, in the year 1736, my mother, wrote to the doctor; and, as
she was on the point of her departure for St. Petersburg, she wished to
see me, and requested him to accompany me to Venice for three or four
days. This invitation set him thinking, for he had never seen Venice,
never frequented good company, and yet he did not wish to appear a novice
in anything. We were soon ready to leave Padua, and all the family
escorted us to the 'burchiello'.

My mother received the doctor with a most friendly welcome; but she was
strikingly beautiful, and my poor master felt very uncomfortable, not
daring to look her in the face, and yet called upon to converse with her.
She saw the dilemma he was in, and thought she would have some amusing
sport about it should opportunity present itself. I, in the meantime,
drew the attention of everyone in her circle; everybody had known me as a
fool, and was amazed at my improvement in the short space of two years.
The doctor was overjoyed, because he saw that the full credit of my
transformation was given to him.

The first thing which struck my mother unpleasantly was my light-coloured
wig, which was not in harmony with my dark complexion, and contrasted
most woefully with my black eyes and eyebrows. She inquired from the
doctor why I did not wear my own hair, and he answered that, with a wig,
it was easier for his sister to keep me clean. Everyone smiled at the
simplicity of the answer, but the merriment increased when, to the
question made by my mother whether his sister was married, I took the
answer upon myself, and said that Bettina was the prettiest girl of
Padua, and was only fourteen years of age. My mother promised the doctor
a splendid present for his sister on condition that she would let me wear
my own hair, and he promised that her wishes would be complied with. The
peruke-maker was then called, and I had a wig which matched my
complexion.

Soon afterwards all the guests began to play cards, with the exception of
my master, and I went to see my brothers in my grandmother's room.
Francois shewed me some architectural designs which I pretended to
admire; Jean had nothing to skew me, and I thought him a rather
insignificant boy. The others were still very young.

At the supper-table, the doctor, seated next to my mother, was very
awkward. He would very likely not have said one word, had not an
Englishman, a writer of talent, addressed him in Latin; but the doctor,
being unable to make him out, modestly answered that he did not
understand English, which caused much hilarity. M. Baffo, however,
explained the puzzle by telling us that Englishmen read and pronounced
Latin in the same way that they read and spoke their own language, and I
remarked that Englishmen were wrong as much as we would be, if we
pretended to read and to pronounce their language according to Latin
rules. The Englishman, pleased with my reasoning, wrote down the
following old couplet, and gave it to me to read:

   'Dicite, grammatici, cur mascula nomina cunnus,
   Et cur femineum mentula nomen habet.'

After reading it aloud, I exclaimed, "This is Latin indeed."

"We know that," said my mother, "but can you explain it?"

"To explain it is not enough," I answered; "it is a question which is
worthy of an answer." And after considering for a moment, I wrote the
following pentameter:

   'Disce quod a domino nomina servus habet.'

This was my first literary exploit, and I may say that in that very
instant the seed of my love for literary fame was sown in my breast, for
the applause lavished upon me exalted me to the very pinnacle of
happiness. The Englishman, quite amazed at my answer, said that no boy of
eleven years had ever accomplished such a feat, embraced me repeatedly,
and presented me with his watch. My mother, inquisitive like a woman,
asked M. Grimani to tell her the meaning of the lines, but as the abbe
was not any wiser than she was M. Baffo translated it in a whisper.
Surprised at my knowledge, she rose from her chair to get a valuable gold
watch and presented to my master, who, not knowing how to express his
deep gratitude, treated us to the most comic scene. My mother, in order
to save him from the difficulty of paying her a compliment, offered him
her cheek. He had only to give her a couple of kisses, the easiest and
the most innocent thing in good company; but the poor man was on burning
coals, and so completely out of countenance that he would, I truly
believe, rather have died than give the kisses. He drew back with his
head down, and he was allowed to remain in peace until we retired for the
night.

When we found ourselves alone in our room, he poured out his heart, and
exclaimed that it was a pity he could not publish in Padua the distich
and my answer.

"And why not?" I said.

"Because both are obscene."

"But they are sublime."

"Let us go to bed and speak no more on the subject. Your answer was
wonderful, because you cannot possibly know anything of the subject in
question, or of the manner in which verses ought to be written."

As far as the subject was concerned, I knew it by theory; for, unknown to
the doctor, and because he had forbidden it, I had read Meursius, but it
was natural that he should be amazed at my being able to write verses,
when he, who had taught me prosody, never could compose a single line.
'Nemo dat quod non habet' is a false axiom when applied to mental
acquirements.

Four days afterwards, as we were preparing for our departure, my mother
gave me a parcel for Bettina, and M. Grimani presented me with four
sequins to buy books. A week later my mother left for St. Petersburg.

After our return to Padua, my good master for three or four months never
ceased to speak of my mother, and Bettina, having found in the parcel
five yards of black silk and twelve pairs of gloves, became singularly
attached to me, and took such good care of my hair that in less than six
months I was able to give up wearing the wig. She used to comb my hair
every morning, often before I was out of bed, saying that she had not
time to wait until I was dressed. She washed my face, my neck, my chest;
lavished on me childish caresses which I thought innocent, but which
caused me to, be angry with myself, because I felt that they excited me.
Three years younger than she was, it seemed to me that she could not love
me with any idea of mischief, and the consciousness of my own vicious
excitement put me out of temper with myself. When, seated on my bed, she
would say that I was getting stouter, and would have the proof of it with
her own hands, she caused me the most intense emotion; but I said
nothing, for fear she would remark my sensitiveness, and when she would
go on saying that my skin was soft, the tickling sensation made me draw
back, angry with myself that I did not dare to do the same to her, but
delighted at her not guessing how I longed to do it. When I was dressed,
she often gave me the sweetest kisses, calling me her darling child, but
whatever wish I had to follow her example, I was not yet bold enough.
After some time, however, Bettina laughing at my timidity, I became more
daring and returned her kisses with interest, but I always gave way the
moment I felt a wish to go further; I then would turn my head, pretending
to look for something, and she would go away. She was scarcely out of the
room before I was in despair at not having followed the inclination of my
nature, and, astonished at the fact that Bettina could do to me all she
was in the habit of doing without feeling any excitement from it, while I
could hardly refrain from pushing my attacks further, I would every day
determine to change my way of acting.

In the early part of autumn, the doctor received three new boarders; and
one of them, who was fifteen years old, appeared to me in less than a
month on very friendly terms with Bettina.

This circumstance caused me a feeling of which until then I had no idea,
and which I only analyzed a few years afterwards. It was neither jealousy
nor indignation, but a noble contempt which I thought ought not to be
repressed, because Cordiani, an ignorant, coarse boy, without talent or
polite education, the son of a simple farmer, and incapable of competing
with me in anything, having over me but the advantage of dawning manhood,
did not appear to me a fit person to be preferred to me; my young
self-esteem whispered that I was above him. I began to nurse a feeling of
pride mixed with contempt which told against Bettina, whom I loved
unknown to myself. She soon guessed it from the way I would receive her
caresses, when she came to comb my hair while I was in bed; I would
repulse her hands, and no longer return her kisses. One day, vexed at my
answering her question as to the reason of my change towards her by
stating that I had no cause for it, she, told me in a tone of
commiseration that I was jealous of Cordiani. This reproach sounded to me
like a debasing slander. I answered that Cordiani was, in my estimation,
as worthy of her as she was worthy of him. She went away smiling, but,
revolving in her mind the only way by which she could be revenged, she
thought herself bound to render me jealous. However, as she could not
attain such an end without making me fall in love with her, this is the
policy she adopted.

One morning she came to me as I was in bed and brought me a pair of white
stockings of her own knitting. After dressing my hair, she asked my
permission to try the stockings on herself, in order to correct any
deficiency in the other pairs she intended to knit for me. The doctor had
gone out to say his mass. As she was putting on the stocking, she
remarked that my legs were not clean, and without any more ado she
immediately began to wash them. I would have been ashamed to let her see
my bashfulness; I let her do as she liked, not foreseeing what would
happen. Bettina, seated on my bed, carried too far her love for
cleanliness, and her curiosity caused me such intense voluptuousness that
the feeling did not stop until it could be carried no further. Having
recovered my calm, I bethought myself that I was guilty and begged her
forgiveness. She did not expect this, and, after considering for a few
moments, she told me kindly that the fault was entirely her own, but that
she never would again be guilty of it. And she went out of the room,
leaving me to my own thoughts.

They were of a cruel character. It seemed to me that I had brought
dishonour upon Bettina, that I had betrayed the confidence of her family,
offended against the sacred laws of hospitality, that I was guilty of a
most wicked crime, which I could only atone for by marrying her, in case
Bettina could make up her mind to accept for her husband a wretch
unworthy of her.

These thoughts led to a deep melancholy which went on increasing from day
to day, Bettina having entirely ceased her morning visits by my bedside.
During the first week, I could easily account for the girl's reserve, and
my sadness would soon have taken the character of the warmest love, had
not her manner towards Cordiani inoculated in my veins the poison of
jealousy, although I never dreamed of accusing her of the same crime
towards him that she had committed upon me.

I felt convinced, after due consideration, that the act she had been
guilty of with me had been deliberately done, and that her feelings of
repentance kept her away from me. This conviction was rather flattering
to my vanity, as it gave me the hope of being loved, and the end of all
my communings was that I made up my mind to write to her, and thus to
give her courage.

I composed a letter, short but calculated to restore peace to her mind,
whether she thought herself guilty, or suspected me of feelings contrary
to those which her dignity might expect from me. My letter was, in my own
estimation, a perfect masterpiece, and just the kind of epistle by which
I was certain to conquer her very adoration, and to sink for ever the sun
of Cordiani, whom I could not accept as the sort of being likely to make
her hesitate for one instant in her choice between him and me.
Half-an-hour after the receipt of my letter, she told me herself that the
next morning she would pay me her usual visit, but I waited in vain. This
conduct provoked me almost to madness, but my surprise was indeed great
when, at the breakfast table, she asked me whether I would let her dress
me up as a girl to accompany her five or six days later to a ball for
which a neighbour of ours, Doctor Olivo, had sent letters of invitation.
Everybody having seconded the motion, I gave my consent. I thought this
arrangement would afford a favourable opportunity for an explanation, for
mutual vindication, and would open a door for the most complete
reconciliation, without fear of any surprise arising from the proverbial
weakness of the flesh. But a most unexpected circumstance prevented our
attending the ball, and brought forth a comedy with a truly tragic turn.

Doctor Gozzi's godfather, a man advanced in age, and in easy
circumstances, residing in the country, thought himself, after a severe
illness, very near his end, and sent to the doctor a carriage with a
request to come to him at once with his father, as he wished them to be
present at his death, and to pray for his departing soul. The old
shoemaker drained a bottle, donned his Sunday clothes, and went off with
his son.

I thought this a favourable opportunity and determined to improve it,
considering that the night of the ball was too remote to suit my
impatience. I therefore managed to tell Bettina that I would leave ajar
the door of my room, and that I would wait for her as soon as everyone in
the house had gone to bed. She promised to come. She slept on the ground
floor in a small closet divided only by a partition from her father's
chamber; the doctor being away, I was alone in the large room. The three
boarders had their apartment in a different part of the house, and I had
therefore no mishap to fear. I was delighted at the idea that I had at
last reached the moment so ardently desired.

The instant I was in my room I bolted my door and opened the one leading
to the passage, so that Bettina should have only to push it in order to
come in; I then put my light out, but did not undress. When we read of
such situations in a romance we think they are exaggerated; they are not
so, and the passage in which Ariosto represents Roger waiting for Alcine
is a beautiful picture painted from nature.

Until midnight I waited without feeling much anxiety; but I heard the
clock strike two, three, four o'clock in the morning without seeing
Bettina; my blood began to boil, and I was soon in a state of furious
rage. It was snowing hard, but I shook from passion more than from cold.
One hour before day-break, unable to master any longer my impatience, I
made up my mind to go downstairs with bare feet, so as not to wake the
dog, and to place myself at the bottom of the stairs within a yard of
Bettina's door, which ought to have been opened if she had gone out of
her room. I reached the door; it was closed, and as it could be locked
only from inside I imagined that Bettina had fallen asleep. I was on the
point of knocking at the door, but was prevented by fear of rousing the
dog, as from that door to that of her closet there was a distance of
three or four yards. Overwhelmed with grief, and unable to take a
decision, I sat down on the last step of the stairs; but at day-break,
chilled, benumbed, shivering with cold, afraid that the servant would see
me and would think I was mad, I determined to go back to my room. I
arise, but at that very moment I hear some noise in Bettina's room.
Certain that I am going to see her, and hope lending me new strength, I
draw nearer to the door. It opens; but instead of Bettina coming out I
see Cordiani, who gives me such a furious kick in the stomach that I am
thrown at a distance deep in the snow. Without stopping a single instant
Cordiani is off, and locks himself up in the room which he shared with
the brothers Feltrini.

I pick myself up quickly with the intention of taking my revenge upon
Bettina, whom nothing could have saved from the effects of my rage at
that moment. But I find her door locked; I kick vigorously against it,
the dog starts a loud barking, and I make a hurried retreat to my room,
in which I lock myself up, throwing myself in bed to compose and heal up
my mind and body, for I was half dead.

Deceived, humbled, ill-treated, an object of contempt to the happy and
triumphant Cordiani, I spent three hours ruminating the darkest schemes
of revenge. To poison them both seemed to me but a trifle in that
terrible moment of bitter misery. This project gave way to another as
extravagant, as cowardly-namely, to go at once to her brother and
disclose everything to him. I was twelve years of age, and my mind had
not yet acquired sufficient coolness to mature schemes of heroic revenge,
which are produced by false feelings of honour; this was only my
apprenticeship in such adventures.

I was in that state of mind when suddenly I heard outside of my door the
gruff voice of Bettina's mother, who begged me to come down, adding that
her daughter was dying. As I would have been very sorry if she had
departed this life before she could feel the effects of my revenge, I got
up hurriedly and went downstairs. I found Bettina lying in her father's
bed writhing with fearful convulsions, and surrounded by the whole
family. Half dressed, nearly bent in two, she was throwing her body now
to the right, now to the left, striking at random with her feet and with
her fists, and extricating herself by violent shaking from the hands of
those who endeavoured to keep her down.

With this sight before me, and the night's adventure still in my mind, I
hardly knew what to think. I had no knowledge of human nature, no
knowledge of artifice and tricks, and I could not understand how I found
myself coolly witnessing such a scene, and composedly calm in the
presence of two beings, one of whom I intended to kill and the other to
dishonour. At the end of an hour Bettina fell asleep.

A nurse and Doctor Olivo came soon after. The first said that the
convulsions were caused by hysterics, but the doctor said no, and
prescribed rest and cold baths. I said nothing, but I could not refrain
from laughing at them, for I knew, or rather guessed, that Bettina's
sickness was the result of her nocturnal employment, or of the fright
which she must have felt at my meeting with Cordiani. At all events, I
determined to postpone my revenge until the return of her brother,
although I had not the slightest suspicion that her illness was all sham,
for I did not give her credit for so much cleverness.

To return to my room I had to pass through Bettina's closet, and seeing
her dress handy on the bed I took it into my head to search her pockets.
I found a small note, and recognizing Cordiani's handwriting, I took
possession of it to read it in my room. I marvelled at the girl's
imprudence, for her mother might have discovered it, and being unable to
read would very likely have given it to the doctor, her son. I thought
she must have taken leave of her senses, but my feelings may be
appreciated when I read the following words: "As your father is away it
is not necessary to leave your door ajar as usual. When we leave the
supper-table I will go to your closet; you will find me there."

When I recovered from my stupor I gave way to an irresistible fit of
laughter, and seeing how completely I had been duped I thought I was
cured of my love. Cordiani appeared to me deserving of forgiveness, and
Bettina of contempt. I congratulated myself upon having received a lesson
of such importance for the remainder of my life. I even went so far as to
acknowledge to myself that Bettina had been quite right in giving the
preference to Cordiani, who was fifteen years old, while I was only a
child. Yet, in spite of my good disposition to forgiveness, the kick
administered by Cordiani was still heavy upon my memory, and I could not
help keeping a grudge against him.

At noon, as we were at dinner in the kitchen, where we took our meals on
account of the cold weather, Bettina began again to raise piercing
screams. Everybody rushed to her room, but I quietly kept my seat and
finished my dinner, after which I went to my studies. In the evening when
I came down to supper I found that Bettina's bed had been brought to the
kitchen close by her mother's; but it was no concern of mine, and I
remained likewise perfectly indifferent to the noise made during the
night, and to the confusion which took place in the morning, when she had
a fresh fit of convulsions.

Doctor Gozzi and his father returned in the evening. Cordiani, who felt
uneasy, came to inquire from me what my intentions were, but I rushed
towards him with an open penknife in my hand, and he beat a hasty
retreat. I had entirely abandoned the idea of relating the night's
scandalous adventure to the doctor, for such a project I could only
entertain in a moment of excitement and rage. The next day the mother
came in while we were at our lesson, and told the doctor, after a
lengthened preamble, that she had discovered the character of her
daughter's illness; that it was caused by a spell thrown over her by a
witch, and that she knew the witch well.

"It may be, my dear mother, but we must be careful not to make a mistake.
Who is the witch?"

"Our old servant, and I have just had a proof of it."

"How so?"

"I have barred the door of my room with two broomsticks placed in the
shape of a cross, which she must have undone to go in; but when she saw
them she drew back, and she went round by the other door. It is evident
that, were she not a witch, she would not be afraid of touching them."

"It is not complete evidence, dear mother; send the woman to me."

The servant made her appearance.

"Why," said the doctor, "did you not enter my mother's room this morning
through the usual door?"

"I do not know what you mean."

"Did you not see the St. Andrew's cross on the door?"

"What cross is that?"

"It is useless to plead ignorance," said the mother; "where did you sleep
last Thursday night?"

"At my niece's, who had just been confined."

"Nothing of the sort. You were at the witches' Sabbath; you are a witch,
and have bewitched my daughter."

The poor woman, indignant at such an accusation, spits at her mistress's
face; the mistress, enraged, gets hold of a stick to give the servant a
drubbing; the doctor endeavours to keep his mother back, but he is
compelled to let her loose and to run after the servant, who was hurrying
down the stairs, screaming and howling in order to rouse the neighbours;
he catches her, and finally succeeds in pacifying her with some money.

After this comical but rather scandalous exhibition, the doctor donned
his vestments for the purpose of exorcising his sister and of
ascertaining whether she was truly possessed of an unclean spirit. The
novelty of this mystery attracted the whole of my attention. All the
inmates of the house appeared to me either mad or stupid, for I could
not, for the life of me, imagine that diabolical spirits were dwelling in
Bettina's body. When we drew near her bed, her breathing had, to all
appearance, stopped, and the exorcisms of her brother did not restore it.
Doctor Olivo happened to come in at that moment, and inquired whether he
would be in the way; he was answered in the negative, provided he had
faith.

Upon which he left, saying that he had no faith in any miracles except in
those of the Gospel.

Soon after Doctor Gozzi went to his room, and finding myself alone with
Bettina I bent down over her bed and whispered in her ear.

"Take courage, get well again, and rely upon my discretion."

She turned her head towards the wall and did not answer me, but the day
passed off without any more convulsions. I thought I had cured her, but
on the following day the frenzy went up to the brain, and in her delirium
she pronounced at random Greek and Latin words without any meaning, and
then no doubt whatever was entertained of her being possessed of the evil
spirit. Her mother went out and returned soon, accompanied by the most
renowned exorcist of Padua, a very ill-featured Capuchin, called Friar
Prospero da Bovolenta.

The moment Bettina saw the exorcist, she burst into loud laughter, and
addressed to him the most offensive insults, which fairly delighted
everybody, as the devil alone could be bold enough to address a Capuchin
in such a manner; but the holy man, hearing himself called an obtrusive
ignoramus and a stinkard, went on striking Bettina with a heavy crucifix,
saying that he was beating the devil. He stopped only when he saw her on
the point of hurling at him the chamber utensil which she had just
seized. "If it is the devil who has offended thee with his words," she
said, "resent the insult with words likewise, jackass that thou art, but
if I have offended thee myself, learn, stupid booby, that thou must
respect me, and be off at once."

I could see poor Doctor Gozzi blushing; the friar, however, held his
ground, and, armed at all points, began to read a terrible exorcism, at
the end of which he commanded the devil to state his name.

"My name is Bettina."

"It cannot be, for it is the name of a baptized girl."

"Then thou art of opinion that a devil must rejoice in a masculine name?
Learn, ignorant friar, that a devil is a spirit, and does not belong to
either sex. But as thou believest that a devil is speaking to thee
through my lips, promise to answer me with truth, and I will engage to
give way before thy incantations."

"Very well, I agree to this."

"Tell me, then, art thou thinking that thy knowledge is greater than
mine?"

"No, but I believe myself more powerful in the name of the holy Trinity,
and by my sacred character."

"If thou art more powerful than I, then prevent me from telling thee
unpalatable truths. Thou art very vain of thy beard, thou art combing and
dressing it ten times a day, and thou would'st not shave half of it to
get me out of this body. Cut off thy beard, and I promise to come out."

"Father of lies, I will increase thy punishment a hundred fold."

"I dare thee to do it."

After saying these words, Bettina broke into such a loud peal of
laughter, that I could not refrain from joining in it. The Capuchin,
turning towards Doctor Gozzi, told him that I was wanting in faith, and
that I ought to leave the room; which I did, remarking that he had
guessed rightly. I was not yet out of the room when the friar offered his
hand to Bettina for her to kiss, and I had the pleasure of seeing her
spit upon it.

This strange girl, full of extraordinary talent, made rare sport of the
friar, without causing any surprise to anyone, as all her answers were
attributed to the devil. I could not conceive what her purpose was in
playing such a part.

The Capuchin dined with us, and during the meal he uttered a good deal of
nonsense. After dinner, he returned to Bettina's chamber, with the
intention of blessing her, but as soon as she caught sight of him, she
took up a glass full of some black mixture sent from the apothecary, and
threw it at his head. Cordiani, being close by the friar, came in for a
good share of the liquid-an accident which afforded me the greatest
delight. Bettina was quite right to improve her opportunity, as
everything she did was, of course, put to the account of the unfortunate
devil. Not overmuch pleased, Friar Prospero, as he left the house, told
the doctor that there was no doubt of the girl being possessed, but that
another exorcist must be sent for, since he had not, himself, obtained
God's grace to eject the evil spirit.

After he had gone, Bettina kept very calm for six hours, and in the
evening, to our great surprise, she joined us at the supper table. She
told her parents that she felt quite well, spoke to her brother, and
then, addressing me, she remarked that, the ball taking place on the
morrow, she would come to my room in the morning to dress my hair like a
girl's. I thanked her, and said that, as she had been so ill, she ought
to nurse herself. She soon retired to bed, and we remained at the table,
talking of her.

When I was undressing for the night, I took up my night-cap, and found in
it a small note with these words: "You must accompany me to the ball,
disguised as a girl, or I will give you a sight which will cause you to
weep."

I waited until the doctor was asleep, and I wrote the following answer:
"I cannot go to the ball, because I have fully made up my mind to avoid
every opportunity of being alone with you. As for the painful sight with
which you threaten to entertain me, I believe you capable of keeping your
word, but I entreat you to spare my heart, for I love you as if you were
my sister. I have forgiven you, dear Bettina, and I wish to forget
everything. I enclose a note which you must be delighted to have again in
your possession. You see what risk you were running when you left it in
your pocket. This restitution must convince you of my friendship."





CHAPTER III

     Bettina Is Supposed to Go Mad--Father Mancia--The Small-pox--
     I Leave Padua

Bettina must have been in despair, not knowing into whose hands her
letter had fallen; to return it to her and thus to allay her anxiety, was
therefore a great proof of friendship; but my generosity, at the same
time that it freed her from a keen sorrow, must have caused her another
quite as dreadful, for she knew that I was master of her secret.
Cordiani's letter was perfectly explicit; it gave the strongest evidence
that she was in the habit of receiving him every night, and therefore the
story she had prepared to deceive me was useless. I felt it was so, and,
being disposed to calm her anxiety as far as I could, I went to her
bedside in the morning, and I placed in her hands Cordiani's note and my
answer to her letter.

The girl's spirit and talent had won my esteem; I could no longer despise
her; I saw in her only a poor creature seduced by her natural
temperament. She loved man, and was to be pitied only on account of the
consequences. Believing that the view I took of the situation was a right
one, I had resigned myself like a reasonable being, and not like a
disappointed lover. The shame was for her and not for me. I had only one
wish, namely, to find out whether the two brothers Feltrini, Cordiani's
companions, had likewise shared Bettina's favours.

Bettina put on throughout the day a cheerful and happy look. In the
evening she dressed herself for the ball; but suddenly an attack of
sickness, whether feigned or real I did not know, compelled her to go to
bed, and frightened everybody in the house. As for myself, knowing the
whole affair, I was prepared for new scenes, and indeed for sad ones, for
I felt that I had obtained over her a power repugnant to her vanity and
self-love. I must, however, confess that, in spite of the excellent
school in which I found myself before I had attained manhood, and which
ought to have given me experience as a shield for the future, I have
through the whole of my life been the dupe of women. Twelve years ago, if
it had not been for my guardian angel, I would have foolishly married a
young, thoughtless girl, with whom I had fallen in love: Now that I am
seventy-two years old I believe myself no longer susceptible of such
follies; but, alas! that is the very thing which causes me to be
miserable.

The next day the whole family was deeply grieved because the devil of
whom Bettina was possessed had made himself master of her reason. Doctor
Gozzi told me that there could not be the shadow of a doubt that his
unfortunate sister was possessed, as, if she had only been mad, she never
would have so cruelly ill-treated the Capuchin, Prospero, and he
determined to place her under the care of Father Mancia.

This Mancia was a celebrated Jacobin (or Dominican) exorcist, who enjoyed
the reputation of never having failed to cure a girl possessed of the
demon.

Sunday had come; Bettina had made a good dinner, but she had been frantic
all through the day. Towards midnight her father came home, singing Tasso
as usual, and so drunk that he could not stand. He went up to Bettina's
bed, and after kissing her affectionately he said to her: "Thou art not
mad, my girl."

Her answer was that he was not drunk.

"Thou art possessed of the devil, my dear child."

"Yes, father, and you alone can cure me."

"Well, I am ready."

Upon this our shoemaker begins a theological discourse, expatiating upon
the power of faith and upon the virtue of the paternal blessing. He
throws off his cloak, takes a crucifix with one hand, places the other
over the head of his daughter, and addresses the devil in such an amusing
way that even his wife, always a stupid, dull, cross-grained old woman,
had to laugh till the tears came down her cheeks. The two performers in
the comedy alone were not laughing, and their serious countenance added
to the fun of the performance. I marvelled at Bettina (who was always
ready to enjoy a good laugh) having sufficient control over herself to
remain calm and grave. Doctor Gozzi had also given way to merriment; but
begged that the farce should come to an end, for he deemed that his
father's eccentricities were as many profanations against the sacredness
of exorcism. At last the exorcist, doubtless tired out, went to bed
saying that he was certain that the devil would not disturb his daughter
during the night.

On the morrow, just as we had finished our breakfast, Father Mancia made
his appearance. Doctor Gozzi, followed by the whole family, escorted him
to his sister's bedside. As for me, I was entirely taken up by the face
of the monk. Here is his portrait. His figure was tall and majestic, his
age about thirty; he had light hair and blue eyes; his features were
those of Apollo, but without his pride and assuming haughtiness; his
complexion, dazzling white, was pale, but that paleness seemed to have
been given for the very purpose of showing off the red coral of his lips,
through which could be seen, when they opened, two rows of pearls. He was
neither thin nor stout, and the habitual sadness of his countenance
enhanced its sweetness. His gait was slow, his air timid, an indication
of the great modesty of his mind.

When we entered the room Bettina was asleep, or pretended to be so.
Father Mancia took a sprinkler and threw over her a few drops of holy
water; she opened her eyes, looked at the monk, and closed them
immediately; a little while after she opened them again, had a better
look at him, laid herself on her back, let her arms droop down gently,
and with her head prettily bent on one side she fell into the sweetest of
slumbers.

The exorcist, standing by the bed, took out his pocket ritual and the
stole which he put round his neck, then a reliquary, which he placed on
the bosom of the sleeping girl, and with the air of a saint he begged all
of us to fall on our knees and to pray, so that God should let him know
whether the patient was possessed or only labouring under a natural
disease. He kept us kneeling for half an hour, reading all the time in a
low tone of voice. Bettina did not stir.

Tired, I suppose, of the performance, he desired to speak privately with
Doctor Gozzi. They passed into the next room, out of which they emerged
after a quarter of an hour, brought back by a loud peal of laughter from
the mad girl, who, when she saw them, turned her back on them. Father
Mancia smiled, dipped the sprinkler over and over in the holy water, gave
us all a generous shower, and took his leave.

Doctor Gozzi told us that the exorcist would come again on the morrow,
and that he had promised to deliver Bettina within three hours if she
were truly possessed of the demon, but that he made no promise if it
should turn out to be a case of madness. The mother exclaimed that he
would surely deliver her, and she poured out her thanks to God for having
allowed her the grace of beholding a saint before her death.

The following day Bettina was in a fine frenzy. She began to utter the
most extravagant speeches that a poet could imagine, and did not stop
when the charming exorcist came into her room; he seemed to enjoy her
foolish talk for a few minutes, after which, having armed himself
'cap-a-pie', he begged us to withdraw. His order was obeyed instantly; we
left the chamber, and the door remained open. But what did it matter? Who
would have been bold enough to go in?

During three long hours we heard nothing; the stillness was unbroken. At
noon the monk called us in. Bettina was there sad and very quiet while
the exorcist packed up his things. He took his departure, saying he had
very good hopes of the case, and requesting that the doctor would send
him news of the patient. Bettina partook of dinner in her bed, got up for
supper, and the next day behaved herself rationally; but the following
circumstance strengthened my opinion that she had been neither insane nor
possessed.

It was two days before the Purification of the Holy Virgin. Doctor Gozzi
was in the habit of giving us the sacrament in his own church, but he
always sent us for our confession to the church of Saint-Augustin, in
which the Jacobins of Padua officiated. At the supper table, he told us
to prepare ourselves for the next day, and his mother, addressing us,
said: "You ought, all of you, to confess to Father Mancia, so as to
obtain absolution from that holy man. I intend to go to him myself."
Cordiani and the two Feltrini agreed to the proposal; I remained silent,
but as the idea was unpleasant to me, I concealed the feeling, with a
full determination to prevent the execution of the project.

I had entire confidence in the secrecy of confession, and I was incapable
of making a false one, but knowing that I had a right to choose my
confessor, I most certainly never would have been so simple as to confess
to Father Mancia what had taken place between me and a girl, because he
would have easily guessed that the girl could be no other but Bettina.
Besides, I was satisfied that Cordiani would confess everything to the
monk, and I was deeply sorry.

Early the next morning, Bettina brought me a band for my neck, and gave
me the following letter: "Spurn me, but respect my honour and the shadow
of peace to which I aspire. No one from this house must confess to Father
Mancia; you alone can prevent the execution of that project, and I need
not suggest the way to succeed. It will prove whether you have some
friendship for me."

I could not express the pity I felt for the poor girl, as I read that
note. In spite of that feeling, this is what I answered: "I can well
understand that, notwithstanding the inviolability of confession, your
mother's proposal should cause you great anxiety; but I cannot see why,
in order to prevent its execution, you should depend upon me rather than
upon Cordiani who has expressed his acceptance of it. All I can promise
you is that I will not be one of those who may go to Father Mancia; but I
have no influence over your lover; you alone can speak to him."

She replied: "I have never addressed a word to Cordiani since the fatal
night which has sealed my misery, and I never will speak to him again,
even if I could by so doing recover my lost happiness. To you alone I
wish to be indebted for my life and for my honour."

This girl appeared to me more wonderful than all the heroines of whom I
had read in novels. It seemed to me that she was making sport of me with
the most barefaced effrontery. I thought she was trying to fetter me
again with her chains; and although I had no inclination for them, I made
up my mind to render her the service she claimed at my hands, and which
she believed I alone could compass. She felt certain of her success, but
in what school had she obtained her experience of the human heart? Was it
in reading novels? Most likely the reading of a certain class of novels
causes the ruin of a great many young girls, but I am of opinion that
from good romances they acquire graceful manners and a knowledge of
society.

Having made up my mind to shew her every kindness in my power, I took an
opportunity, as we were undressing for the night, of telling Doctor Gozzi
that, for conscientious motives, I could not confess to Father Mancia,
and yet that I did not wish to be an exception in that matter. He kindly
answered that he understood my reasons, and that he would take us all to
the church of Saint-Antoine. I kissed his hand in token of my gratitude.

On the following day, everything having gone according to her wishes, I
saw Bettina sit down to the table with a face beaming with satisfaction.
In the afternoon I had to go to bed in consequence of a wound in my foot;
the doctor accompanied his pupils to church; and Bettina being alone,
availed herself of the opportunity, came to my room and sat down on my
bed. I had expected her visit, and I received it with pleasure, as it
heralded an explanation for which I was positively longing.

She began by expressing a hope that I would not be angry with her for
seizing the first opportunity she had of some conversation with me.

"No," I answered, "for you thus afford me an occasion of assuring you
that, my feelings towards you being those of a friend only, you need not
have any fear of my causing you any anxiety or displeasure. Therefore
Bettina, you may do whatever suits you; my love is no more. You have at
one blow given the death-stroke to the intense passion which was
blossoming in my heart. When I reached my room, after the ill-treatment I
had experienced at Cordiani's hands, I felt for you nothing but hatred;
that feeling soon merged into utter contempt, but that sensation itself
was in time, when my mind recovered its balance, changed for a feeling of
the deepest indifference, which again has given way when I saw what power
there is in your mind. I have now become your friend; I have conceived
the greatest esteem for your cleverness. I have been the dupe of it, but
no matter; that talent of yours does exist, it is wonderful, divine, I
admire it, I love it, and the highest homage I can render to it is, in my
estimation, to foster for the possessor of it the purest feelings of
friendship. Reciprocate that friendship, be true, sincere, and plain
dealing. Give up all nonsense, for you have already obtained from me all
I can give you. The very thought of love is repugnant to me; I can bestow
my love only where I feel certain of being the only one loved. You are at
liberty to lay my foolish delicacy to the account of my youthful age, but
I feel so, and I cannot help it. You have written to me that you never
speak to Cordiani; if I am the cause of that rupture between you, I
regret it, and I think that, in the interest of your honour, you would do
well to make it up with him; for the future I must be careful never to
give him any grounds for umbrage or suspicion. Recollect also that, if
you have tempted him by the same manoeuvres which you have employed
towards me, you are doubly wrong, for it may be that, if he truly loves
you, you have caused him to be miserable."

"All you have just said to me," answered Bettina, "is grounded upon false
impressions and deceptive appearances. I do not love Cordiani, and I
never had any love for him; on the contrary, I have felt, and I do feel,
for him a hatred which he has richly deserved, and I hope to convince
you, in spite of every appearance which seems to convict me. As to the
reproach of seduction, I entreat you to spare me such an accusation. On
our side, consider that, if you had not yourself thrown temptation in my
way, I never would have committed towards you an action of which I have
deeply repented, for reasons which you do not know, but which you must
learn from me. The fault I have been guilty of is a serious one only
because I did not foresee the injury it would do me in the inexperienced
mind of the ingrate who dares to reproach me with it."

Bettina was shedding tears: all she had said was not unlikely and rather
complimentary to my vanity, but I had seen too much. Besides, I knew the
extent of her cleverness, and it was very natural to lend her a wish to
deceive me; how could I help thinking that her visit to me was prompted
only by her self-love being too deeply wounded to let me enjoy a victory
so humiliating to herself? Therefore, unshaken in my preconceived
opinion, I told her that I placed implicit confidence in all she had just
said respecting the state of her heart previous to the playful nonsense
which had been the origin of my love for her, and that I promised never
in the future to allude again to my accusation of seduction. "But," I
continued, "confess that the fire at that time burning in your bosom was
only of short duration, and that the slightest breath of wind had been
enough to extinguish it. Your virtue, which went astray for only one
instant, and which has so suddenly recovered its mastery over your
senses, deserves some praise. You, with all your deep adoring love for
me, became all at once blind to my sorrow, whatever care I took to make
it clear to your sight. It remains for me to learn how that virtue could
be so very dear to you, at the very time that Cordiani took care to wreck
it every night."

Bettina eyed me with the air of triumph which perfect confidence in
victory gives to a person, and said: "You have just reached the point
where I wished you to be. You shall now be made aware of things which I
could not explain before, owing to your refusing the appointment which I
then gave you for no other purpose than to tell you all the truth.
Cordiani declared his love for me a week after he became an inmate in our
house; he begged my consent to a marriage, if his father made the demand
of my hand as soon as he should have completed his studies. My answer was
that I did not know him sufficiently, that I could form no idea on the
subject, and I requested him not to allude to it any more. He appeared to
have quietly given up the matter, but soon after, I found out that it was
not the case; he begged me one day to come to his room now and then to
dress his hair; I told him I had no time to spare, and he remarked that
you were more fortunate. I laughed at this reproach, as everyone here
knew that I had the care of you. It was a fortnight after my refusal to
Cordiani, that I unfortunately spent an hour with you in that loving
nonsense which has naturally given you ideas until then unknown to your
senses. That hour made me very happy: I loved you, and having given way
to very natural desires, I revelled in my enjoyment without the slightest
remorse of conscience. I was longing to be again with you the next
morning, but after supper, misfortune laid for the first time its hand
upon me. Cordiani slipped in my hands this note and this letter which I
have since hidden in a hole in the wall, with the intention of shewing
them to you at the first opportunity."

Saying this, Bettina handed me the note and the letter; the first ran as
follows: "Admit me this evening in your closet, the door of which,
leading to the yard, can be left ajar, or prepare yourself to make the
best of it with the doctor, to whom I intend to deliver, if you should
refuse my request, the letter of which I enclose a copy."

The letter contained the statement of a cowardly and enraged informer,
and would certainly have caused the most unpleasant results. In that
letter Cordiani informed the doctor that his sister spent her mornings
with me in criminal connection while he was saying his mass, and he
pledged himself to enter into particulars which would leave him no doubt.

"After giving to the case the consideration it required," continued
Bettina, "I made up my mind to hear that monster; but my determination
being fixed, I put in my pocket my father's stilletto, and holding my
door ajar I waited for him there, unwilling to let him come in, as my
closet is divided only by a thin partition from the room of my father,
whom the slightest noise might have roused up. My first question to
Cordiani was in reference to the slander contained in the letter he
threatened to deliver to my brother: he answered that it was no slander,
for he had been a witness to everything that had taken place in the
morning through a hole he had bored in the garret just above your bed,
and to which he would apply his eye the moment he knew that I was in your
room. He wound up by threatening to discover everything to my brother and
to my mother, unless I granted him the same favours I had bestowed upon
you. In my just indignation I loaded him with the most bitter insults, I
called him a cowardly spy and slanderer, for he could not have seen
anything but childish playfulness, and I declared to him that he need not
flatter himself that any threat would compel me to give the slightest
compliance to his wishes. He then begged and begged my pardon a thousand
times, and went on assuring me that I must lay to my rigour the odium of
the step he had taken, the only excuse for it being in the fervent love I
had kindled in his heart, and which made him miserable. He acknowledged
that his letter might be a slander, that he had acted treacherously, and
he pledged his honour never to attempt obtaining from me by violence
favours which he desired to merit only by the constancy of his love. I
then thought myself to some extent compelled to say that I might love him
at some future time, and to promise that I would not again come near your
bed during the absence of my brother. In this way I dismissed him
satisfied, without his daring to beg for so much as a kiss, but with the
promise that we might now and then have some conversation in the same
place. As soon as he left me I went to bed, deeply grieved that I could
no longer see you in the absence of my brother, and that I was unable,
for fear of consequences, to let you know the reason of my change. Three
weeks passed off in that position, and I cannot express what have been my
sufferings, for you, of course, urged me to come, and I was always under
the painful necessity of disappointing you. I even feared to find myself
alone with you, for I felt certain that I could not have refrained from
telling you the cause of the change in my conduct. To crown my misery,
add that I found myself compelled, at least once a week, to receive the
vile Cordiani outside of my room, and to speak to him, in order to check
his impatience with a few words. At last, unable to bear up any longer
under such misery, threatened likewise by you, I determined to end my
agony. I wished to disclose to you all this intrigue, leaving to you the
care of bringing a change for the better, and for that purpose I proposed
that you should accompany me to the ball disguised as a girl, although I
knew it would enrage Cordiani; but my mind was made up. You know how my
scheme fell to the ground. The unexpected departure of my brother with my
father suggested to both of you the same idea, and it was before
receiving Cordiani's letter that I promised to come to you. Cordiani did
not ask for an appointment; he only stated that he would be waiting for
me in my closet, and I had no opportunity of telling him that I could not
allow him to come, any more than I could find time to let you know that I
would be with you only after midnight, as I intended to do, for I
reckoned that after an hour's talk I would dismiss the wretch to his
room. But my reckoning was wrong; Cordiani had conceived a scheme, and I
could not help listening to all he had to say about it. His whining and
exaggerated complaints had no end. He upbraided me for refusing to
further the plan he had concocted, and which he thought I would accept
with rapture if I loved him. The scheme was for me to elope with him
during holy week, and to run away to Ferrara, where he had an uncle who
would have given us a kind welcome, and would soon have brought his
father to forgive him and to insure our happiness for life. The
objections I made, his answers, the details to be entered into, the
explanations and the ways and means to be examined to obviate the
difficulties of the project, took up the whole night. My heart was
bleeding as I thought of you; but my conscience is at rest, and I did
nothing that could render me unworthy of your esteem. You cannot refuse
it to me, unless you believe that the confession I have just made is
untrue; but you would be both mistaken and unjust. Had I made up my mind
to sacrifice myself and to grant favours which love alone ought to
obtain, I might have got rid of the treacherous wretch within one hour,
but death seemed preferable to such a dreadful expedient. Could I in any
way suppose that you were outside of my door, exposed to the wind and to
the snow? Both of us were deserving of pity, but my misery was still
greater than yours. All these fearful circumstances were written in the
book of fate, to make me lose my reason, which now returns only at
intervals, and I am in constant dread of a fresh attack of those awful
convulsions. They say I am bewitched, and possessed of the demon; I do
not know anything about it, but if it should be true I am the most
miserable creature in existence." Bettina ceased speaking, and burst into
a violent storm of tears, sobs, and groans. I was deeply moved, although
I felt that all she had said might be true, and yet was scarcely worthy
of belief:

   'Forse era ver, ma non pero credibile
   A chi del senso suo fosse signor.'

But she was weeping, and her tears, which at all events were not
deceptive, took away from me the faculty of doubt. Yet I put her tears to
the account of her wounded self-love; to give way entirely I needed a
thorough conviction, and to obtain it evidence was necessary, probability
was not enough. I could not admit either Cordiani's moderation or
Bettina's patience, or the fact of seven hours employed in innocent
conversation. In spite of all these considerations, I felt a sort of
pleasure in accepting for ready cash all the counterfeit coins that she
had spread out before me.

After drying her tears, Bettina fixed her beautiful eyes upon mine,
thinking that she could discern in them evident signs of her victory; but
I surprised her much by alluding to one point which, with all her
cunning, she had neglected to mention in her defence. Rhetoric makes use
of nature's secrets in the same way as painters who try to imitate it:
their most beautiful work is false. This young girl, whose mind had not
been refined by study, aimed at being considered innocent and artless,
and she did her best to succeed, but I had seen too good a specimen of
her cleverness.

"Well, my dear Bettina," I said, "your story has affected me; but how do
you think I am going to accept your convulsions as natural, and to
believe in the demoniac symptoms which came on so seasonably during the
exorcisms, although you very properly expressed your doubts on the
matter?"

Hearing this, Bettina stared at me, remaining silent for a few minutes,
then casting her eyes down she gave way to fresh tears, exclaiming now
and then: "Poor me! oh, poor me!" This situation, however, becoming most
painful to me, I asked what I could do for her. She answered in a sad
tone that if my heart did not suggest to me what to do, she did not
herself see what she could demand of me.

"I thought," said she, "that I would reconquer my lost influence over
your heart, but, I see it too plainly, you no longer feel an interest in
me. Go on treating me harshly; go on taking for mere fictions sufferings
which are but too real, which you have caused, and which you will now
increase. Some day, but too late, you will be sorry, and your repentance
will be bitter indeed."

As she pronounced these words she rose to take her leave; but judging her
capable of anything I felt afraid, and I detained her to say that the
only way to regain my affection was to remain one month without
convulsions and without handsome Father Mancia's presence being required.

"I cannot help being convulsed," she answered, "but what do you mean by
applying to the Jacobin that epithet of handsome? Could you suppose--?"

"Not at all, not at all--I suppose nothing; to do so would be necessary
for me to be jealous. But I cannot help saying that the preference given
by your devils to the exorcism of that handsome monk over the
incantations of the ugly Capuchin is likely to give birth to remarks
rather detrimental to your honour. Moreover, you are free to do whatever
pleases you."

Thereupon she left my room, and a few minutes later everybody came home.

After supper the servant, without any question on my part, informed me
that Bettina had gone to bed with violent feverish chills, having
previously had her bed carried into the kitchen beside her mother's. This
attack of fever might be real, but I had my doubts. I felt certain that
she would never make up her mind to be well, for her good health would
have supplied me with too strong an argument against her pretended
innocence, even in the case of Cordiani; I likewise considered her idea
of having her bed placed near her mother's nothing but artful
contrivance.

The next day Doctor Olivo found her very feverish, and told her brother
that she would most likely be excited and delirious, but that it would be
the effect of the fever and not the work of the devil. And truly, Bettina
was raving all day, but Dr. Gozzi, placing implicit confidence in the
physician, would not listen to his mother, and did not send for the
Jacobin friar. The fever increased in violence, and on the fourth day the
small-pox broke out. Cordiani and the two brothers Feitrini, who had so
far escaped that disease, were immediately sent away, but as I had had it
before I remained at home.

The poor girl was so fearfully covered with the loathsome eruption, that
on the sixth day her skin could not be seen on any part of her body. Her
eyes closed, and her life was despaired of, when it was found that her
mouth and throat were obstructed to such a degree that she could swallow
nothing but a few drops of honey. She was perfectly motionless; she
breathed and that was all. Her mother never left her bedside, and I was
thought a saint when I carried my table and my books into the patient's
room. The unfortunate girl had become a fearful sight to look upon; her
head was dreadfully swollen, the nose could no longer be seen, and much
fear was entertained for her eyes, in case her life should be spared. The
odour of her perspiration was most offensive, but I persisted in keeping
my watch by her.

On the ninth day, the vicar gave her absolution, and after administering
extreme unction, he left her, as he said, in the hands of God. In the
midst of so much sadness, the conversation of the mother with her son,
would, in spite of myself, cause me some amount of merriment. The good
woman wanted to know whether the demon who was dwelling in her child
could still influence her to perform extravagant follies, and what would
become of the demon in the case of her daughter's death, for, as she
expressed it, she could not think of his being so stupid as to remain in
so loathsome a body. She particularly wanted to ascertain whether the
demon had power to carry off the soul of her child. Doctor Gozzi, who was
an ubiquitarian, made to all those questions answers which had not even
the shadow of good sense, and which of course had no other effect than to
increase a hundred-fold the perplexity of his poor mother.

During the tenth and eleventh days, Bettina was so bad that we thought
every moment likely to be her last. The disease had reached its worst
period; the smell was unbearable; I alone would not leave her, so sorely
did I pity her. The heart of man is indeed an unfathomable abyss, for,
however incredible it may appear, it was while in that fearful state that
Bettina inspired me with the fondness which I showed her after her
recovery.

On the thirteenth day the fever abated, but the patient began to
experience great irritation, owing to a dreadful itching, which no remedy
could have allayed as effectually as these powerful words which I kept
constantly pouring into her ear: "Bettina, you are getting better; but if
you dare to scratch yourself, you will become such a fright that nobody
will ever love you." All the physicians in the universe might be
challenged to prescribe a more potent remedy against itching for a girl
who, aware that she has been pretty, finds herself exposed to the loss of
her beauty through her own fault, if she scratches herself.

At last her fine eyes opened again to the light of heaven; she was moved
to her own room, but she had to keep her bed until Easter. She inoculated
me with a few pocks, three of which have left upon my face everlasting
marks; but in her eyes they gave me credit for great devotedness, for
they were a proof of my constant care, and she felt that I indeed
deserved her whole love. And she truly loved me, and I returned her love,
although I never plucked a flower which fate and prejudice kept in store
for a husband. But what a contemptible husband!

Two years later she married a shoemaker, by name Pigozzo--a base, arrant
knave who beggared and ill-treated her to such an extent that her brother
had to take her home and to provide for her. Fifteen years afterwards,
having been appointed arch-priest at Saint-George de la Vallee, he took
her there with him, and when I went to pay him a visit eighteen years
ago, I found Bettina old, ill, and dying. She breathed her last in my
arms in 1776, twenty-four hours after my arrival. I will speak of her
death in good time.

About that period, my mother returned from St. Petersburg, where the
Empress Anne Iwanowa had not approved of the Italian comedy. The whole of
the troop had already returned to Italy, and my mother had travelled with
Carlin Bertinazzi, the harlequin, who died in Paris in the year 1783. As
soon as she had reached Padua, she informed Doctor Gozzi of her arrival,
and he lost no time in accompanying me to the inn where she had put up.
We dined with her, and before bidding us adieu, she presented the doctor
with a splendid fur, and gave me the skin of a lynx for Bettina. Six
months afterwards she summoned me to Venice, as she wished to see me
before leaving for Dresden, where she had contracted an engagement for
life in the service of the Elector of Saxony, Augustus III., King of
Poland. She took with her my brother Jean, then eight years old, who was
weeping bitterly when he left; I thought him very foolish, for there was
nothing very tragic in that departure. He is the only one in the family
who was wholly indebted to our mother for his fortune, although he was
not her favourite child.

I spent another year in Padua, studying law in which I took the degree of
Doctor in my sixteenth year, the subject of my thesis being in the civil
law, 'de testamentis', and in the canon law, 'utrum Hebraei possint
construere novas synagogas'.

My vocation was to study medicine, and to practice it, for I felt a great
inclination for that profession, but no heed was given to my wishes, and
I was compelled to apply myself to the study of the law, for which I had
an invincible repugnance. My friends were of opinion that I could not
make my fortune in any profession but that of an advocate, and, what is
still worse, of an ecclesiastical advocate. If they had given the matter
proper consideration, they would have given me leave to follow my own
inclinations, and I would have been a physician--a profession in which
quackery is of still greater avail than in the legal business. I never
became either a physician or an advocate, and I never would apply to a
lawyer, when I had any legal business, nor call in a physician when I
happened to be ill. Lawsuits and pettifoggery may support a good many
families, but a greater proportion is ruined by them, and those who
perish in the hands, of physicians are more numerous by far than those
who get cured strong evidence in my opinion, that mankind would be much
less miserable without either lawyers or doctors.

To attend the lectures of the professors, I had to go to the university
called the Bo, and it became necessary for me to go out alone. This was a
matter of great wonder to me, for until then I had never considered
myself a free man; and in my wish to enjoy fully the liberty I thought I
had just conquered, it was not long before I had made the very worst
acquaintances amongst the most renowned students. As a matter of course,
the most renowned were the most worthless, dissolute fellows, gamblers,
frequenters of disorderly houses, hard drinkers, debauchees, tormentors
and suborners of honest girls, liars, and wholly incapable of any good or
virtuous feeling. In the company of such men did I begin my
apprenticeship of the world, learning my lesson from the book of
experience.

The theory of morals and its usefulness through the life of man can be
compared to the advantage derived by running over the index of a book
before reading it when we have perused that index we know nothing but the
subject of the work. This is like the school for morals offered by the
sermons, the precepts, and the tales which our instructors recite for our
especial benefit. We lend our whole attention to those lessons, but when
an opportunity offers of profiting by the advice thus bestowed upon us,
we feel inclined to ascertain for ourselves whether the result will turn
out as predicted; we give way to that very natural inclination, and
punishment speedily follows with concomitant repentance. Our only
consolation lies in the fact that in such moments we are conscious of our
own knowledge, and consider ourselves as having earned the right to
instruct others; but those to whom we wish to impart our experience act
exactly as we have acted before them, and, as a matter of course, the
world remains in statu quo, or grows worse and worse.

When Doctor Gozzi granted me the privilege of going out alone, he gave me
an opportunity for the discovery of several truths which, until then,
were not only unknown to me, but the very existence of which I had never
suspected. On my first appearance, the boldest scholars got hold of me
and sounded my depth. Finding that I was a thorough freshman, they
undertook my education, and with that worthy purpose in view they allowed
me to fall blindly into every trap. They taught me gambling, won the
little I possessed, and then they made me play upon trust, and put me up
to dishonest practices in order to procure the means of paying my
gambling debts; but I acquired at the same time the sad experience of
sorrow! Yet these hard lessons proved useful, for they taught me to
mistrust the impudent sycophants who openly flatter their dupes, and
never to rely upon the offers made by fawning flatterers. They taught me
likewise how to behave in the company of quarrelsome duellists, the
society of whom ought to be avoided, unless we make up our mind to be
constantly in the very teeth of danger. I was not caught in the snares of
professional lewd women, because not one of them was in my eyes as pretty
as Bettina, but I did not resist so well the desire for that species of
vain glory which is the reward of holding life at a cheap price.

In those days the students in Padua enjoyed very great privileges, which
were in reality abuses made legal through prescription, the primitive
characteristic of privileges, which differ essentially from prerogatives.
In fact, in order to maintain the legality of their privileges, the
students often committed crimes. The guilty were dealt with tenderly,
because the interest of the city demanded that severity should not
diminish the great influx of scholars who flocked to that renowned
university from every part of Europe. The practice of the Venetian
government was to secure at a high salary the most celebrated professors,
and to grant the utmost freedom to the young men attending their lessons.
The students acknowledged no authority but that of a chief, chosen among
themselves, and called syndic. He was usually a foreign nobleman, who
could keep a large establishment, and who was responsible to the
government for the behaviour of the scholars. It was his duty to give
them up to justice when they transgressed the laws, and the students
never disputed his sentence, because he always defended them to the
utmost, when they had the slightest shadow of right on their side.

The students, amongst other privileges, would not suffer their trunks to
be searched by customhouse authorities, and no ordinary policeman would
have dared to arrest one of them. They carried about them forbidden
weapons, seduced helpless girls, and often disturbed the public peace by
their nocturnal broils and impudent practical jokes; in one word, they
were a body of young fellows, whom nothing could restrain, who would
gratify every whim, and enjoy their sport without regard or consideration
for any human being.

It was about that time that a policeman entered a coffee-room, in which
were seated two students. One of them ordered him out, but the man taking
no notice of it, the student fired a pistol at him, and missed his aim.
The policeman returned the fire, wounded the aggressor, and ran away. The
students immediately mustered together at the Bo, divided into bands, and
went over the city, hunting the policemen to murder them, and avenge the
insult they had received. In one of the encounters two of the students
were killed, and all the others, assembling in one troop, swore never to
lay their arms down as long as there should be one policeman alive in
Padua. The authorities had to interfere, and the syndic of the students
undertook to put a stop to hostilities provided proper satisfaction was
given, as the police were in the wrong. The man who had shot the student
in the coffee-room was hanged, and peace was restored; but during the
eight days of agitation, as I was anxious not to appear less brave than
my comrades who were patrolling the city, I followed them in spite of
Doctor Gozzi's remonstrances. Armed with a carbine and a pair of pistols,
I ran about the town with the others, in quest of the enemy, and I
recollect how disappointed I was because the troop to which I belonged
did not meet one policeman. When the war was over, the doctor laughed at
me, but Bettina admired my valour. Unfortunately, I indulged in expenses
far above my means, owing to my unwillingness to seem poorer than my new
friends. I sold or pledged everything I possessed, and I contracted debts
which I could not possibly pay. This state of things caused my first
sorrows, and they are the most poignant sorrows under which a young man
can smart. Not knowing which way to turn, I wrote to my excellent
grandmother, begging her assistance, but instead of sending me some
money, she came to Padua on the 1st of October, 1739, and, after thanking
the doctor and Bettina for all their affectionate care, she bought me
back to Venice. As he took leave of me, the doctor, who was shedding
tears, gave me what he prized most on earth; a relic of some saint, which
perhaps I might have kept to this very day, had not the setting been of
gold. It performed only one miracle, that of being of service to me in a
moment of great need. Whenever I visited Padua, to complete my study of
the law, I stayed at the house of the kind doctor, but I was always
grieved at seeing near Bettina the brute to whom she was engaged, and who
did not appear to me deserving of such a wife. I have always regretted
that a prejudice, of which I soon got rid, should have made me preserve
for that man a flower which I could have plucked so easily.





CHAPTER IV

     I receive the minor orders from the patriarch of Venice--
     I get acquainted with Senator Malipiero, with Therese Imer,
     with the niece of the Curate, with Madame Orio, with Nanette
     and Marton, and with the Cavamacchia--I become a preacher--
     My adventure with Lucie at Pasean A rendezvous on the third
     story.

[Illustration: 1c04.jpg]

"He comes from Padua, where he has completed his studies." Such were the
words by which I was everywhere introduced, and which, the moment they
were uttered, called upon me the silent observation of every young man of
my age and condition, the compliments of all fathers, and the caresses of
old women, as well as the kisses of a few who, although not old, were not
sorry to be considered so for the sake of embracing a young man without
impropriety. The curate of Saint-Samuel, the Abbe Josello, presented me
to Monsignor Correre, Patriarch of Venice, who gave me the tonsure, and
who, four months afterwards, by special favour, admitted me to the four
minor orders. No words could express the joy and the pride of my
grandmother. Excellent masters were given to me to continue my studies,
and M. Baffo chose the Abbe Schiavo to teach me a pure Italian style,
especially poetry, for which I had a decided talent. I was very
comfortably lodged with my brother Francois, who was studying theatrical
architecture. My sister and my youngest brother were living with our
grandam in a house of her own, in which it was her wish to die, because
her husband had there breathed his last. The house in which I dwelt was
the same in which my father had died, and the rent of which my mother
continued to pay. It was large and well furnished.

Although Abbe Grimani was my chief protector, I seldom saw him, and I
particularly attached myself to M. de Malipiero, to whom I had been
presented by the Curate Josello. M. de Malipiero was a senator, who was
unwilling at seventy years of age to attend any more to State affairs,
and enjoyed a happy, sumptuous life in his mansion, surrounded every
evening by a well-chosen party of ladies who had all known how to make
the best of their younger days, and of gentlemen who were always
acquainted with the news of the town. He was a bachelor and wealthy, but,
unfortunately, he had three or four times every year severe attacks of
gout, which always left him crippled in some part or other of his body,
so that all his person was disabled. His head, his lungs, and his stomach
had alone escaped this cruel havoc. He was still a fine man, a great
epicure, and a good judge of wine; his wit was keen, his knowledge of the
world extensive, his eloquence worthy of a son of Venice, and he had that
wisdom which must naturally belong to a senator who for forty years has
had the management of public affairs, and to a man who has bid farewell
to women after having possessed twenty mistresses, and only when he felt
himself compelled to acknowledge that he could no longer be accepted by
any woman. Although almost entirely crippled, he did not appear to be so
when he was seated, when he talked, or when he was at table. He had only
one meal a day, and always took it alone because, being toothless and
unable to eat otherwise than very slowly, he did not wish to hurry
himself out of compliment to his guests, and would have been sorry to see
them waiting for him. This feeling deprived him of the pleasure he would
have enjoyed in entertaining at his board friendly and agreeable guests,
and caused great sorrow to his excellent cook.

The first time I had the honour of being introduced to him by the curate,
I opposed earnestly the reason which made him eat his meals in solitude,
and I said that his excellency had only to invite guests whose appetite
was good enough to enable them to eat a double share.

"But where can I find such table companions?" he asked.

"It is rather a delicate matter," I answered; "but you must take your
guests on trial, and after they have been found such as you wish them to
be, the only difficulty will be to keep them as your guests without their
being aware of the real cause of your preference, for no respectable man
could acknowledge that he enjoys the honour of sitting at your
excellency's table only because he eats twice as much as any other man."

The senator understood the truth of my argument, and asked the curate to
bring me to dinner on the following day. He found my practice even better
than my theory, and I became his daily guest.

This man, who had given up everything in life except his own self,
fostered an amorous inclination, in spite of his age and of his gout. He
loved a young girl named Therese Imer, the daughter of an actor residing
near his mansion, her bedroom window being opposite to his own. This
young girl, then in her seventeenth year, was pretty, whimsical, and a
regular coquette. She was practising music with a view to entering the
theatrical profession, and by showing herself constantly at the window
she had intoxicated the old senator, and was playing with him cruelly.
She paid him a daily visit, but always escorted by her mother, a former
actress, who had retired from the stage in order to work out her
salvation, and who, as a matter of course, had made up her mind to
combine the interests of heaven with the works of this world. She took
her daughter to mass every day and compelled her to go to confession
every week; but every afternoon she accompanied her in a visit to the
amorous old man, the rage of whom frightened me when she refused him a
kiss under the plea that she had performed her devotions in the morning,
and that she could not reconcile herself to the idea of offending the God
who was still dwelling in her.

What a sight for a young man of fifteen like me, whom the old man
admitted as the only and silent witness of these erotic scenes! The
miserable mother applauded her daughter's reserve, and went so far as to
lecture the elderly lover, who, in his turn, dared not refute her maxims,
which savoured either too much or too little of Christianity, and
resisted a very strong inclination to hurl at her head any object he had
at hand. Anger would then take the place of lewd desires, and after they
had retired he would comfort himself by exchanging with me philosophical
considerations.

Compelled to answer him, and not knowing well what to say, I ventured one
day upon advising a marriage. He struck me with amazement when he
answered that she refused to marry him from fear of drawing upon herself
the hatred of his relatives.

"Then make her the offer of a large sum of money, or a position."

"She says that she would not, even for a crown, commit a deadly sin."

"In that case, you must either take her by storm, or banish her for ever
from your presence."

"I can do neither one nor the other; physical as well as moral strength
is deficient in me."

"Kill her, then."

"That will very likely be the case unless I die first."

"Indeed I pity your excellency."

"Do you sometimes visit her?"

"No, for I might fall in love with her, and I would be miserable."

"You are right."

Witnessing many such scenes, and taking part in many similar
conversations, I became an especial favourite with the old nobleman. I
was invited to his evening assemblies which were, as I have stated
before, frequented by superannuated women and witty men. He told me that
in this circle I would learn a science of greater import than Gassendi's
philosophy, which I was then studying by his advice instead of
Aristotle's, which he turned into ridicule. He laid down some precepts
for my conduct in those assemblies, explaining the necessity of my
observing them, as there would be some wonder at a young man of my age
being received at such parties. He ordered me never to open my lips
except to answer direct questions, and particularly enjoined me never to
pass an opinion on any subject, because at my age I could not be allowed
to have any opinions.

I faithfully followed his precepts, and obeyed his orders so well, that
in a few days I had gained his esteem, and become the child of the house,
as well as the favourite of all the ladies who visited him. In my
character of a young and innocent ecclesiastic, they would ask me to
accompany them in their visits to the convents where their daughters or
their nieces were educated; I was at all hours received at their houses
without even being announced; I was scolded if a week elapsed without my
calling upon them, and when I went to the apartments reserved for the
young ladies, they would run away, but the moment they saw that the
intruder was only I, they would return at once, and their confidence was
very charming to me.

Before dinner, M. de Malipiero would often inquire from me what
advantages were accruing to me from the welcome I received at the hands
of the respectable ladies I had become acquainted with at his house,
taking care to tell me, before I could have time to answer, that they
were all endowed with the greatest virtue, and that I would give
everybody a bad opinion of myself, if I ever breathed one word of
disparagement to the high reputation they all enjoyed. In this way he
would inculcate in me the wise precept of reserve and discretion.

It was at the senator's house that I made the acquaintance of Madame
Manzoni, the wife of a notary public, of whom I shall have to speak very
often. This worthy lady inspired me with the deepest attachment, and she
gave me the wisest advice. Had I followed it, and profited by it, my life
would not have been exposed to so many storms; it is true that in that
case, my life would not be worth writing.

All these fine acquaintances amongst women who enjoyed the reputation of
being high-bred ladies, gave me a very natural desire to shine by my good
looks and by the elegance of my dress; but my father confessor, as well
as my grandmother, objected very strongly to this feeling of vanity. On
one occasion, taking me apart, the curate told me, with honeyed words,
that in the profession to which I had devoted myself my thoughts ought to
dwell upon the best means of being agreeable to God, and not on pleasing
the world by my fine appearance. He condemned my elaborate curls, and the
exquisite perfume of my pomatum. He said that the devil had got hold of
me by the hair, that I would be excommunicated if I continued to take
such care of it, and concluded by quoting for my benefit these words from
an oecumenical council: 'clericus qui nutrit coman, anathema sit'. I
answered him with the names of several fashionable perfumed abbots, who
were not threatened with excommunication, who were not interfered with,
although they wore four times as much powder as I did--for I only used a
slight sprinkling--who perfumed their hair with a certain amber-scented
pomatum which brought women to the very point of fainting, while mine, a
jessamine pomade, called forth the compliment of every circle in which I
was received. I added that I could not, much to my regret, obey him, and
that if I had meant to live in slovenliness, I would have become a
Capuchin and not an abbe.

My answer made him so angry that, three or four days afterwards, he
contrived to obtain leave from my grandmother to enter my chamber early
in the morning, before I was awake, and, approaching my bed on tiptoe
with a sharp pair of scissors, he cut off unmercifully all my front hair,
from one ear to the other. My brother Francois was in the adjoining room
and saw him, but he did not interfere as he was delighted at my
misfortune. He wore a wig, and was very jealous of my beautiful head of
hair. Francois was envious through the whole of his life; yet he combined
this feeling of envy with friendship; I never could understand him; but
this vice of his, like my own vices, must by this time have died of old
age.

After his great operation, the abbe left my room quietly, but when I woke
up shortly afterwards, and realized all the horror of this unheard-of
execution, my rage and indignation were indeed wrought to the highest
pitch.

What wild schemes of revenge my brain engendered while, with a
looking-glass in my hand, I was groaning over the shameful havoc
performed by this audacious priest! At the noise I made my grandmother
hastened to my room, and amidst my brother's laughter the kind old woman
assured me that the priest would never have been allowed to enter my room
if she could have foreseen his intention, and she managed to soothe my
passion to some extent by confessing that he had over-stepped the limits
of his right to administer a reproof.

But I was determined upon revenge, and I went on dressing myself and
revolving in my mind the darkest plots. It seemed to me that I was
entitled to the most cruel revenge, without having anything to dread from
the terrors of the law. The theatres being open at that time I put on a
mask to go out, and I, went to the advocate Carrare, with whom I had
become acquainted at the senator's house, to inquire from him whether I
could bring a suit against the priest. He told me that, but a short time
since, a family had been ruined for having sheared the moustache of a
Sclavonian--a crime not nearly so atrocious as the shearing of all my
front locks, and that I had only to give him my instructions to begin a
criminal suit against the abbe, which would make him tremble. I gave my
consent, and begged that he would tell M. de Malipiero in the evening the
reason for which I could not go to his house, for I did not feel any
inclination to show myself anywhere until my hair had grown again.

I went home and partook with my brother of a repast which appeared rather
scanty in comparison to the dinners I had with the old senator. The
privation of the delicate and plentiful fare to which his excellency had
accustomed me was most painful, besides all the enjoyments from which I
was excluded through the atrocious conduct of the virulent priest, who
was my godfather. I wept from sheer vexation; and my rage was increased
by the consciousness that there was in this insult a certain dash of
comical fun which threw over me a ridicule more disgraceful in my
estimation than the greatest crime.

I went to bed early, and, refreshed by ten hours of profound slumber, I
felt in the morning somewhat less angry, but quite as determined to
summon the priest before a court. I dressed myself with the intention of
calling upon my advocate, when I received the visit of a skilful
hair-dresser whom I had seen at Madame Cantarini's house. He told me that
he was sent by M. de Malipiero to arrange my hair so that I could go out,
as the senator wished me to dine with him on that very day. He examined
the damage done to my head, and said, with a smile, that if I would trust
to his art, he would undertake to send me out with an appearance of even
greater elegance than I could boast of before; and truly, when he had
done, I found myself so good-looking that I considered my thirst for
revenge entirely satisfied.

Having thus forgotten the injury, I called upon the lawyer to tell him to
stay all proceedings, and I hastened to M. de Malipiero's palace, where,
as chance would have it, I met the abbe. Notwithstanding all my joy, I
could not help casting upon him rather unfriendly looks, but not a word
was said about what had taken place. The senator noticed everything, and
the priest took his leave, most likely with feelings of mortified
repentance, for this time I most verily deserved excommunication by the
extreme studied elegance of my curling hair.

When my cruel godfather had left us, I did not dissemble with M. de
Malipiero; I candidly told him that I would look out for another church,
and that nothing would induce me to remain under a priest who, in his
wrath, could go the length of such proceedings. The wise old man agreed
with me, and said that I was quite right: it was the best way to make me
do ultimately whatever he liked. In the evening everyone in our circle,
being well aware of what had happened, complimented me, and assured me
that nothing could be handsomer than my new head-dress. I was delighted,
and was still more gratified when, after a fortnight had elapsed, I found
that M. de Malipiero did not broach the subject of my returning to my
godfather's church. My grandmother alone constantly urged me to return.
But this calm was the harbinger of a storm. When my mind was thoroughly
at rest on that subject, M. de Malipiero threw me into the greatest
astonishment by suddenly telling me that an excellent opportunity offered
itself for me to reappear in the church and to secure ample satisfaction
from the abbe.

"It is my province," added the senator, "as president of the
Confraternity of the Holy Sacrament, to choose the preacher who is to
deliver the sermon on the fourth Sunday of this month, which happens to
be the second Christmas holiday. I mean to appoint you, and I am certain
that the abbe will not dare to reject my choice. What say you to such a
triumphant reappearance? Does it satisfy you?"

This offer caused me the greatest surprise, for I had never dreamt of
becoming a preacher, and I had never been vain enough to suppose that I
could write a sermon and deliver it in the church. I told M. de Malipiero
that he must surely be enjoying a joke at my expense, but he answered
that he had spoken in earnest, and he soon contrived to persuade me and
to make me believe that I was born to become the most renowned preacher
of our age as soon as I should have grown fat--a quality which I
certainly could not boast of, for at that time I was extremely thin. I
had not the shadow of a fear as to my voice or to my elocution, and for
the matter of composing my sermon I felt myself equal to the production
of a masterpiece.

I told M. de Malipiero that I was ready, and anxious to be at home in
order to go to work; that, although no theologian, I was acquainted with
my subject, and would compose a sermon which would take everyone by
surprise on account of its novelty.

On the following day, when I called upon him, he informed me that the
abbe had expressed unqualified delight at the choice made by him, and at
my readiness in accepting the appointment; but he likewise desired that I
should submit my sermon to him as soon as it was written, because the
subject belonging to the most sublime theology he could not allow me to
enter the pulpit without being satisfied that I would not utter any
heresies. I agreed to this demand, and during the week I gave birth to my
masterpiece. I have now that first sermon in my possession, and I cannot
help saying that, considering my tender years, I think it a very good
one.

I could not give an idea of my grandmother's joy; she wept tears of
happiness at having a grandson who had become an apostle. She insisted
upon my reading my sermon to her, listened to it with her beads in her
hands, and pronounced it very beautiful. M. de Malipiero, who had no
rosary when I read it to him, was of opinion that it would not prove
acceptable to the parson. My text was from Horace: 'Ploravere suis non
respondere favorem sperdtum meritis'; and I deplored the wickedness and
ingratitude of men, through which had failed the design adopted by Divine
wisdom for the redemption of humankind. But M. de Malipiero was sorry
that I had taken my text from any heretical poet, although he was pleased
that my sermon was not interlarded with Latin quotations.

I called upon the priest to read my production; but as he was out I had
to wait for his return, and during that time I fell in love with his
niece, Angela. She was busy upon some tambour work; I sat down close by
her, and telling me that she had long desired to make my acquaintance,
she begged me to relate the history of the locks of hair sheared by her
venerable uncle.

My love for Angela proved fatal to me, because from it sprang two other
love affairs which, in their turn, gave birth to a great many others, and
caused me finally to renounce the Church as a profession. But let us
proceed quietly, and not encroach upon future events.

On his return home the abbe found me with his niece, who was about my
age, and he did not appear to be angry. I gave him my sermon: he read it
over, and told me that it was a beautiful academical dissertation, but
unfit for a sermon from the pulpit, and he added,

"I will give you a sermon written by myself, which I have never
delivered; you will commit it to memory, and I promise to let everybody
suppose that it is of your own composition."

"I thank you, very reverend father, but I will preach my own sermon, or
none at all."

"At all events, you shall not preach such a sermon as this in my church."

"You can talk the matter over with M. de Malipiero. In the meantime I
will take my work to the censorship, and to His Eminence the Patriarch,
and if it is not accepted I shall have it printed."

"All very well, young man. The patriarch will coincide with me."

In the evening I related my discussion with the parson before all the
guests of M. de Malipiero. The reading of my sermon was called for, and
it was praised by all. They lauded me for having with proper modesty
refrained from quoting the holy fathers of the Church, whom at my age I
could not be supposed to have sufficiently studied, and the ladies
particularly admired me because there was no Latin in it but the Text
from Horace, who, although a great libertine himself, has written very
good things. A niece of the patriarch, who was present that evening,
promised to prepare her uncle in my favour, as I had expressed my
intention to appeal to him; but M. de Malipiero desired me not to take
any steps in the matter until I had seen him on the following day, and I
submissively bowed to his wishes.

When I called at his mansion the next day he sent for the priest, who
soon made his appearance. As he knew well what he had been sent for, he
immediately launched out into a very long discourse, which I did not
interrupt, but the moment he had concluded his list of objections I told
him that there could not be two ways to decide the question; that the
patriarch would either approve or disapprove my sermon.

"In the first case," I added, "I can pronounce it in your church, and no
responsibility can possibly fall upon your shoulders; in the second, I
must, of course, give way."

The abbe was struck by my determination and he said,

"Do not go to the patriarch; I accept your sermon; I only request you to
change your text. Horace was a villain."

"Why do you quote Seneca, Tertullian, Origen, and Boethius? They were all
heretics, and must, consequently, be considered by you as worse wretches
than Horace, who, after all, never had the chance of becoming a
Christian!"

However, as I saw it would please M. de Malipiero, I finally consented to
accept, as a substitute for mine, a text offered by the abbe, although it
did not suit in any way the spirit of my production; and in order to get
an opportunity for a visit to his niece, I gave him my manuscript, saying
that I would call for it the next day. My vanity prompted me to send a
copy to Doctor Gozzi, but the good man caused me much amusement by
returning it and writing that I must have gone mad, and that if I were
allowed to deliver such a sermon from the pulpit I would bring dishonour
upon myself as well as upon the man who had educated me.

I cared but little for his opinion, and on the appointed day I delivered
my sermon in the Church of the Holy Sacrament in the presence of the best
society of Venice. I received much applause, and every one predicted that
I would certainly become the first preacher of our century, as no young
ecclesiastic of fifteen had ever been known to preach as well as I had
done. It is customary for the faithful to deposit their offerings for the
preacher in a purse which is handed to them for that purpose.

The sexton who emptied it of its contents found in it more than fifty
sequins, and several billets-doux, to the great scandal of the weaker
brethren. An anonymous note amongst them, the writer of which I thought I
had guessed, let me into a mistake which I think better not to relate.
This rich harvest, in my great penury, caused me to entertain serious
thoughts of becoming a preacher, and I confided my intention to the
parson, requesting his assistance to carry it into execution. This gave
me the privilege of visiting at his house every day, and I improved the
opportunity of conversing with Angela, for whom my love was daily
increasing. But Angela was virtuous. She did not object to my love, but
she wished me to renounce the Church and to marry her. In spite of my
infatuation for her, I could not make up my mind to such a step, and I
went on seeing her and courting her in the hope that she would alter her
decision.

The priest, who had at last confessed his admiration for my first sermon,
asked me, some time afterwards, to prepare another for St. Joseph's Day,
with an invitation to deliver it on the 19th of March, 1741. I composed
it, and the abbe spoke of it with enthusiasm, but fate had decided that I
should never preach but once in my life. It is a sad tale, unfortunately
for me very true, which some persons are cruel enough to consider very
amusing.

Young and rather self-conceited, I fancied that it was not necessary for
me to spend much time in committing my sermon to memory. Being the
author, I had all the ideas contained in my work classified in my mind,
and it did not seem to me within the range of possibilities that I could
forget what I had written. Perhaps I might not remember the exact words
of a sentence, but I was at liberty to replace them by other expressions
as good, and as I never happened to be at a loss, or to be struck dumb,
when I spoke in society, it was not likely that such an untoward accident
would befall me before an audience amongst whom I did not know anyone who
could intimidate me and cause me suddenly to lose the faculty of reason
or of speech. I therefore took my pleasure as usual, being satisfied with
reading my sermon morning and evening, in order to impress it upon my
memory which until then had never betrayed me.

The 19th of March came, and on that eventful day at four o'clock in the
afternoon I was to ascend the pulpit; but, believing myself quite secure
and thoroughly master of my subject, I had not the moral courage to deny
myself the pleasure of dining with Count Mont-Real, who was then residing
with me, and who had invited the patrician Barozzi, engaged to be married
to his daughter after the Easter holidays.

I was still enjoying myself with my fine company, when the sexton of the
church came in to tell me that they were waiting for me in the vestry.
With a full stomach and my head rather heated, I took my leave, ran to
the church, and entered the pulpit. I went through the exordium with
credit to myself, and I took breathing time; but scarcely had I
pronounced the first sentences of the narration, before I forgot what I
was saying, what I had to say, and in my endeavours to proceed, I fairly
wandered from my subject and I lost myself entirely. I was still more
discomforted by a half-repressed murmur of the audience, as my deficiency
appeared evident. Several persons left the church, others began to smile,
I lost all presence of mind and every hope of getting out of the scrape.

I could not say whether I feigned a fainting fit, or whether I truly
swooned; all I know is that I fell down on the floor of the pulpit,
striking my head against the wall, with an inward prayer for
annihilation.

Two of the parish clerks carried me to the vestry, and after a few
moments, without addressing a word to anyone, I took my cloak and my hat,
and went home to lock myself in my room. I immediately dressed myself in
a short coat, after the fashion of travelling priests, I packed a few
things in a trunk, obtained some money from my grandmother, and took my
departure for Padua, where I intended to pass my third examination. I
reached Padua at midnight, and went to Doctor Gozzi's house, but I did
not feel the slightest temptation to mention to him my unlucky adventure.

I remained in Padua long enough to prepare myself for the doctor's
degree, which I intended to take the following year, and after Easter I
returned to Venice, where my misfortune was already forgotten; but
preaching was out of the question, and when any attempt was made to
induce me to renew my efforts, I manfully kept to my determination never
to ascend the pulpit again.

On the eve of Ascension Day M. Manzoni introduced me to a young
courtesan, who was at that time in great repute at Venice, and was
nick-named Cavamacchia, because her father had been a scourer. This named
vexed her a great deal, she wished to be called Preati, which was her
family name, but it was all in vain, and the only concession her friends
would make was to call her by her Christian name of Juliette. She had
been introduced to fashionable notice by the Marquis de Sanvitali, a
nobleman from Parma, who had given her one hundred thousand ducats for
her favours. Her beauty was then the talk of everybody in Venice, and it
was fashionable to call upon her. To converse with her, and especially to
be admitted into her circle, was considered a great boon.

As I shall have to mention her several times in the course of my history,
my readers will, I trust, allow me to enter into some particulars about
her previous life.

Juliette was only fourteen years of age when her father sent her one day
to the house of a Venetian nobleman, Marco Muazzo, with a coat which he
had cleaned for him. He thought her very beautiful in spite of the dirty
rags in which she was dressed, and he called to see her at her father's
shop, with a friend of his, the celebrated advocate, Bastien Uccelli,
who; struck by the romantic and cheerful nature of Juliette still more
than by her beauty and fine figure, gave her an apartment, made her study
music, and kept her as his mistress. At the time of the fair, Bastien
took her with him to various public places of resort; everywhere she
attracted general attention, and secured the admiration of every lover of
the sex. She made rapid progress in music, and at the end of six months
she felt sufficient confidence in herself to sign an engagement with a
theatrical manager who took her to Vienna to give her a 'castrato' part
in one of Metastasio's operas.

The advocate had previously ceded her to a wealthy Jew who, after giving
her splendid diamonds, left her also.

In Vienna, Juliette appeared on the stage, and her beauty gained for her
an admiration which she would never have conquered by her very inferior
talent. But the constant crowd of adorers who went to worship the
goddess, having sounded her exploits rather too loudly, the august
Maria-Theresa objected to this new creed being sanctioned in her capital,
and the beautiful actress received an order to quit Vienna forthwith.

Count Spada offered her his protection, and brought her back to Venice,
but she soon left for Padua where she had an engagement. In that city she
kindled the fire of love in the breast of Marquis Sanvitali, but the
marchioness having caught her once in her own box, and Juliette having
acted disrespectfully to her, she slapped her face, and the affair having
caused a good deal of noise, Juliette gave up the stage altogether. She
came back to Venice, where, made conspicuous by her banishment from
Vienna, she could not fail to make her fortune. Expulsion from Vienna,
for this class of women, had become a title to fashionable favour, and
when there was a wish to depreciate a singer or a dancer, it was said of
her that she had not been sufficiently prized to be expelled from Vienna.

After her return, her first lover was Steffano Querini de Papozzes, but
in the spring of 1740, the Marquis de Sanvitali came to Venice and soon
carried her off. It was indeed difficult to resist this delightful
marquis! His first present to the fair lady was a sum of one hundred
thousand ducats, and, to prevent his being accused of weakness or of
lavish prodigality, he loudly proclaimed that the present could scarcely
make up for the insult Juliette had received from his wife--an insult,
however, which the courtesan never admitted, as she felt that there would
be humiliation in such an acknowledgment, and she always professed to
admire with gratitude her lover's generosity. She was right; the
admission of the blow received would have left a stain upon her charms,
and how much more to her taste to allow those charms to be prized at such
a high figure!

It was in the year 1741 that M. Manzoni introduced me to this new Phryne
as a young ecclesiastic who was beginning to make a reputation. I found
her surrounded by seven or eight well-seasoned admirers, who were burning
at her feet the incense of their flattery. She was carelessly reclining
on a sofa near Querini. I was much struck with her appearance. She eyed
me from head to foot, as if I had been exposed for sale, and telling me,
with the air of a princess, that she was not sorry to make my
acquaintance, she invited me to take a seat. I began then, in my turn, to
examine her closely and deliberately, and it was an easy matter, as the
room, although small, was lighted with at least twenty wax candles.

Juliette was then in her eighteenth year; the freshness of her complexion
was dazzling, but the carnation tint of her cheeks, the vermilion of her
lips, and the dark, very narrow curve of her eyebrows, impressed me as
being produced by art rather than nature. Her teeth--two rows of
magnificent pearls--made one overlook the fact that her mouth was
somewhat too large, and whether from habit, or because she could not help
it, she seemed to be ever smiling. Her bosom, hid under a light gauze,
invited the desires of love; yet I did not surrender to her charms. Her
bracelets and the rings which covered her fingers did not prevent me from
noticing that her hand was too large and too fleshy, and in spite of her
carefully hiding her feet, I judged, by a telltale slipper lying close by
her dress, that they were well proportioned to the height of her
figure--a proportion which is unpleasant not only to the Chinese and
Spaniards, but likewise to every man of refined taste. We want a tall
women to have a small foot, and certainly it is not a modern taste, for
Holofernes of old was of the same opinion; otherwise he would not have
thought Judith so charming: 'et sandalid ejus rapuerunt oculos ejus'.
Altogether I found her beautiful, but when I compared her beauty and the
price of one hundred thousand ducats paid for it, I marvelled at my
remaining so cold, and at my not being tempted to give even one sequin
for the privilege of making from nature a study of the charms which her
dress concealed from my eyes.

I had scarcely been there a quarter of an hour when the noise made by the
oars of a gondola striking the water heralded the prodigal marquis. We
all rose from our seats, and M. Querini hastened, somewhat blushing, to
quit his place on the sofa. M. de Sanvitali, a man of middle age, who had
travelled much, took a seat near Juliette, but not on the sofa, so she
was compelled to turn round. It gave me the opportunity of seeing her
full front, while I had before only a side view of her face.

After my introduction to Juliette, I paid her four or five visits, and I
thought myself justified, by the care I had given to the examination of
her beauty, in saying in M. de Malipiero's draw-room, one evening, when
my opinion about her was asked, that she could please only a glutton with
depraved tastes; that she had neither the fascination of simple nature
nor any knowledge of society, that she was deficient in well-bred, easy
manners as well as in striking talents and that those were the qualities
which a thorough gentleman liked to find in a woman. This opinion met the
general approbation of his friends, but M. de Malipiero kindly whispered
to me that Juliette would certainly be informed of the portrait I had
drawn of her, and that she would become my sworn enemy. He had guessed
rightly.

I thought Juliette very singular, for she seldom spoke to me, and
whenever she looked at me she made use of an eye-glass, or she contracted
her eye-lids, as if she wished to deny me the honour of seeing her eyes,
which were beyond all dispute very beautiful. They were blue, wondrously
large and full, and tinted with that unfathomable variegated iris which
nature only gives to youth, and which generally disappears, after having
worked miracles, when the owner reaches the shady side of forty.
Frederick the Great preserved it until his death.

Juliette was informed of the portrait I had given of her to M. de
Malipiero's friends by the indiscreet pensioner, Xavier Cortantini. One
evening I called upon her with M. Manzoni, and she told him that a
wonderful judge of beauty had found flaws in hers, but she took good care
not to specify them. It was not difficult to make out that she was
indirectly firing at me, and I prepared myself for the ostracism which I
was expecting, but which, however, she kept in abeyance fully for an
hour. At last, our conversation falling upon a concert given a few days
before by Imer, the actor, and in which his daughter, Therese, had taken
a brilliant part, Juliette turned round to me and inquired what M. de
Malipiero did for Therese. I said that he was educating her. "He can well
do it," she answered, "for he is a man of talent; but I should like to
know what he can do with you?"

"Whatever he can."

"I am told that he thinks you rather stupid."

As a matter of course, she had the laugh on her side, and I, confused,
uncomfortable and not knowing what to say, took leave after having cut a
very sorry figure, and determined never again to darken her door. The
next day at dinner the account of my adventure caused much amusement to
the old senator.

Throughout the summer, I carried on a course of Platonic love with my
charming Angela at the house of her teacher of embroidery, but her
extreme reserve excited me, and my love had almost become a torment to
myself. With my ardent nature, I required a mistress like Bettina, who
knew how to satisfy my love without wearing it out. I still retained some
feelings of purity, and I entertained the deepest veneration for Angela.
She was in my eyes the very palladium of Cecrops. Still very innocent, I
felt some disinclination towards women, and I was simple enough to be
jealous of even their husbands.

Angela would not grant me the slightest favour, yet she was no flirt; but
the fire beginning in me parched and withered me. The pathetic entreaties
which I poured out of my heart had less effect upon her than upon two
young sisters, her companions and friends: had I not concentrated every
look of mine upon the heartless girl, I might have discovered that her
friends excelled her in beauty and in feeling, but my prejudiced eyes saw
no one but Angela. To every outpouring of my love she answered that she
was quite ready to become my wife, and that such was to be the limit of
my wishes; when she condescended to add that she suffered as much as I
did myself, she thought she had bestowed upon me the greatest of favours.

Such was the state of my mind, when, in the first days of autumn, I
received a letter from the Countess de Mont-Real with an invitation to
spend some time at her beautiful estate at Pasean. She expected many
guests, and among them her own daughter, who had married a Venetian
nobleman, and who had a great reputation for wit and beauty, although she
had but one eye; but it was so beautiful that it made up for the loss of
the other. I accepted the invitation, and Pasean offering me a constant
round of pleasures, it was easy enough for me to enjoy myself, and to
forget for the time the rigours of the cruel Angela.

I was given a pretty room on the ground floor, opening upon the gardens
of Pasean, and I enjoyed its comforts without caring to know who my
neighbours were.

The morning after my arrival, at the very moment I awoke, my eyes were
delighted with the sight of the charming creature who brought me my
coffee. She was a very young girl, but as well formed as a young person
of seventeen; yet she had scarcely completed her fourteenth year. The
snow of her complexion, her hair as dark as the raven's wing, her black
eyes beaming with fire and innocence, her dress composed only of a
chemise and a short petticoat which exposed a well-turned leg and the
prettiest tiny foot, every detail I gathered in one instant presented to
my looks the most original and the most perfect beauty I had ever beheld.
I looked at her with the greatest pleasure, and her eyes rested upon me
as if we had been old acquaintances.

"How did you find your bed?" she asked.

"Very comfortable; I am sure you made it. Pray, who are you?"

"I am Lucie, the daughter of the gate-keeper: I have neither brothers nor
sisters, and I am fourteen years old. I am very glad you have no servant
with you; I will be your little maid, and I am sure you will be pleased
with me."

Delighted at this beginning, I sat up in my bed and she helped me to put
on my dressing-gown, saying a hundred things which I did not understand.
I began to drink my coffee, quite amazed at her easy freedom, and struck
with her beauty, to which it would have been impossible to remain
indifferent. She had seated herself on my bed, giving no other apology
for that liberty than the most delightful smile.

I was still sipping my coffee, when Lucie's parents came into my room.
She did not move from her place on the bed, but she looked at them,
appearing very proud of such a seat. The good people kindly scolded her,
begged my forgiveness in her favour, and Lucie left the room to attend to
her other duties. The moment she had gone her father and mother began to
praise their daughter.

"She is," they said, "our only child, our darling pet, the hope of our
old age. She loves and obeys us, and fears God; she is as clean as a new
pin, and has but one fault."

"What is that?"

"She is too young."

"That is a charming fault which time will mend."

I was not long in ascertaining that they were living specimens of
honesty, of truth, of homely virtues, and of real happiness. I was
delighted at this discovery, when Lucie returned as gay as a lark,
prettily dressed, her hair done in a peculiar way of her own, and with
well-fitting shoes. She dropped a simple courtesy before me, gave a
couple of hearty kisses to both her parents, and jumped on her father
knees. I asked her to come and sit on my bed, but she answered that she
could not take such a liberty now that she was dressed, The simplicity,
artlessness, and innocence of the answer seemed to me very enchanting,
and brought a smile on my lips. I examined her to see whether she was
prettier in her new dress or in the morning's negligee, and I decided in
favour of the latter. To speak the truth, Lucie was, I thought, superior
in everything, not only to Angela, but even to Bettina.

The hair-dresser made his appearance, and the honest family left my room.
When I was dressed I went to meet the countess and her amiable daughter.
The day passed off very pleasantly, as is generally the case in the
country, when you are amongst agreeable people.

In the morning, the moment my eyes were opened,

I rang the bell, and pretty Lucie came in, simple and natural as before,
with her easy manners and wonderful remarks. Her candour, her innocence
shone brilliantly all over her person. I could not conceive how, with her
goodness, her virtue and her intelligence, she could run the risk of
exciting me by coming into my room alone, and with so much familiarity. I
fancied that she would not attach much importance to certain slight
liberties, and would not prove over-scrupulous, and with that idea I made
up my mind to shew her that I fully understood her. I felt no remorse of
conscience on the score of her parents, who, in my estimation, were as
careless as herself; I had no dread of being the first to give the alarm
to her innocence, or to enlighten her mind with the gloomy light of
malice, but, unwilling either to be the dupe of feeling or to act against
it, I resolved to reconnoitre the ground. I extend a daring hand towards
her person, and by an involuntary movement she withdraws, blushes, her
cheerfulness disappears, and, turning her head aside as if she were in
search of something, she waits until her agitation has subsided. The
whole affair had not lasted one minute. She came back, abashed at the
idea that she had proved herself rather knowing, and at the dread of
having perhaps given a wrong interpretation to an action which might have
been, on my part, perfectly innocent, or the result of politeness. Her
natural laugh soon returned, and, having rapidly read in her mind all I
have just described, I lost no time in restoring her confidence, and,
judging that I would venture too much by active operations, I resolved to
employ the following morning in a friendly chat during which I could make
her out better.

In pursuance of that plan, the next morning, as we were talking, I told
her that it was cold, but that she would not feel it if she would lie
down near me.

"Shall I disturb you?" she said.

"No; but I am thinking that if your mother happened to come in, she would
be angry."

"Mother would not think of any harm."

"Come, then. But Lucie, do you know what danger you are exposing yourself
to?"

"Certainly I do; but you are good, and, what is more, you are a priest."

"Come; only lock the door."

"No, no, for people might think.... I do not know what." She laid down
close by me, and kept on her chatting, although I did not understand a
word of what she said, for in that singular position, and unwilling to
give way to my ardent desires, I remained as still as a log.

Her confidence in her safety, confidence which was certainly not feigned,
worked upon my feelings to such an extent that I would have been ashamed
to take any advantage of it. At last she told me that nine o'clock had
struck, and that if old Count Antonio found us as we were, he would tease
her with his jokes. "When I see that man," she said, "I am afraid and I
run away." Saying these words, she rose from the bed and left the room.

I remained motionless for a long while, stupefied, benumbed, and mastered
by the agitation of my excited senses as well as by my thoughts. The next
morning, as I wished to keep calm, I only let her sit down on my bed, and
the conversation I had with her proved without the shadow of a doubt that
her parents had every reason to idolize her, and that the easy freedom of
her mind as well as of her behaviour with me was entirely owing to her
innocence and to her purity. Her artlessness, her vivacity, her eager
curiosity, and the bashful blushes which spread over her face whenever
her innocent or jesting remarks caused me to laugh, everything, in fact,
convinced me that she was an angel destined to become the victim of the
first libertine who would undertake to seduce her. I felt sufficient
control over my own feelings to resist any attempt against her virtue
which my conscience might afterwards reproach me with. The mere thought
of taking advantage of her innocence made me shudder, and my self-esteem
was a guarantee to her parents, who abandoned her to me on the strength
of the good opinion they entertained of me, that Lucie's honour was safe
in my hands. I thought I would have despised myself if I had betrayed the
trust they reposed in me. I therefore determined to conquer my feelings,
and, with perfect confidence in the victory, I made up my mind to wage
war against myself, and to be satisfied with her presence as the only
reward of my heroic efforts. I was not yet acquainted with the axiom that
"as long as the fighting lasts, victory remains uncertain."

As I enjoyed her conversation much, a natural instinct prompted me to
tell her that she would afford me great pleasure if she could come
earlier in the morning, and even wake me up if I happened to be asleep,
adding, in order to give more weight to my request, that the less I slept
the better I felt in health. In this manner I contrived to spend three
hours instead of two in her society, although this cunning contrivance of
mine did not prevent the hours flying, at least in my opinion, as swift
as lightning.

Her mother would often come in as we were talking, and when the good
woman found her sitting on my bed she would say nothing, only wondering
at my kindness. Lucie would then cover her with kisses, and the kind old
soul would entreat me to give her child lessons of goodness, and to
cultivate her mind; but when she had left us Lucie did not think herself
more unrestrained, and whether in or out of her mother's presence, she
was always the same without the slightest change.

If the society of this angelic child afforded me the sweetest delight, it
also caused me the most cruel suffering. Often, very often, when her face
was close to my lips, I felt the most ardent temptation to smother her
with kisses, and my blood was at fever heat when she wished that she had
been a sister of mine. But I kept sufficient command over myself to avoid
the slightest contact, for I was conscious that even one kiss would have
been the spark which would have blown up all the edifice of my reserve.
Every time she left me I remained astounded at my own victory, but,
always eager to win fresh laurels, I longed for the following morning,
panting for a renewal of this sweet yet very dangerous contest.

At the end of ten or twelve days, I felt that there was no alternative
but to put a stop to this state of things, or to become a monster in my
own eyes; and I decided for the moral side of the question all the more
easily that nothing insured me success, if I chose the second
alternative. The moment I placed her under the obligation to defend
herself Lucie would become a heroine, and the door of my room being open,
I might have been exposed to shame and to a very useless repentance. This
rather frightened me. Yet, to put an end to my torture, I did not know
what to decide. I could no longer resist the effect made upon my senses
by this beautiful girl, who, at the break of day and scarcely dressed,
ran gaily into my room, came to my bed enquiring how I had slept, bent
familiarly her head towards me, and, so to speak, dropped her words on my
lips. In those dangerous moments I would turn my head aside; but in her
innocence she would reproach me for being afraid when she felt herself so
safe, and if I answered that I could not possibly fear a child, she would
reply that a difference of two years was of no account.

Standing at bay, exhausted, conscious that every instant increased the
ardour which was devouring me, I resolved to entreat from herself the
discontinuance of her visits, and this resolution appeared to me sublime
and infallible; but having postponed its execution until the following
morning, I passed a dreadful night, tortured by the image of Lucie, and
by the idea that I would see her in the morning for the last time. I
fancied that Lucie would not only grant my prayer, but that she would
conceive for me the highest esteem. In the morning, it was barely
day-light, Lucie beaming, radiant with beauty, a happy smile brightening
her pretty mouth, and her splendid hair in the most fascinating disorder,
bursts into my room, and rushes with open arms towards my bed; but when
she sees my pale, dejected, and unhappy countenance, she stops short, and
her beautiful face taking an expression of sadness and anxiety:

"What ails you?" she asks, with deep sympathy.

"I have had no sleep through the night:"

"And why?"

"Because I have made up my mind to impart to you a project which,
although fraught with misery to myself, will at least secure me your
esteem."

"But if your project is to insure my esteem it ought to make you very
cheerful. Only tell me, reverend sir, why, after calling me 'thou'
yesterday, you treat me today respectfully, like a lady? What have I
done? I will get your coffee, and you must tell me everything after you
have drunk it; I long to hear you."

She goes and returns, I drink the coffee, and seeing that my countenance
remains grave she tries to enliven me, contrives to make me smile, and
claps her hands for joy. After putting everything in order, she closes
the door because the wind is high, and in her anxiety not to lose one
word of what I have to say, she entreats artlessly a little place near
me. I cannot refuse her, for I feel almost lifeless.

I then begin a faithful recital of the fearful state in which her beauty
has thrown me, and a vivid picture of all the suffering I have
experienced in trying to master my ardent wish to give her some proof of
my love; I explain to her that, unable to endure such torture any longer,
I see no other safety but in entreating her not to see me any more. The
importance of the subject, the truth of my love, my wish to present my
expedient in the light of the heroic effort of a deep and virtuous
passion, lend me a peculiar eloquence. I endeavour above all to make her
realize the fearful consequences which might follow a course different to
the one I was proposing, and how miserable we might be.

At the close of my long discourse Lucie, seeing my eyes wet with tears,
throws off the bed-clothes to wipe them, without thinking that in so
doing she uncovers two globes, the beauty of which might have caused the
wreck of the most experienced pilot. After a short silence, the charming
child tells me that my tears make her very unhappy, and that she had
never supposed that she could cause them.

"All you have just told me," she added, "proves the sincerity of your
great love for me, but I cannot imagine why you should be in such dread
of a feeling which affords me the most intense pleasure. You wish to
banish me from your presence because you stand in fear of your love, but
what would you do if you hated me? Am I guilty because I have pleased
you? If it is a crime to have won your affection, I can assure you that I
did not think I was committing a criminal action, and therefore you
cannot conscientiously punish me. Yet I cannot conceal the truth; I am
very happy to be loved by you. As for the danger we run, when we love,
danger which I can understand, we can set it at defiance, if we choose,
and I wonder at my not fearing it, ignorant as I am, while you, a learned
man, think it so terrible. I am astonished that love, which is not a
disease, should have made you ill, and that it should have exactly the
opposite effect upon me. Is it possible that I am mistaken, and that my
feeling towards you should not be love? You saw me very cheerful when I
came in this morning; it is because I have been dreaming all night, but
my dreams did not keep me awake; only several times I woke up to
ascertain whether my dream was true, for I thought I was near you; and
every time, finding that it was not so, I quickly went to sleep again in
the hope of continuing my happy dream, and every time I succeeded. After
such a night, was it not natural for me to be cheerful this morning? My
dear abbe, if love is a torment for you I am very sorry, but would it be
possible for you to live without love? I will do anything you order me to
do, but, even if your cure depended upon it, I would not cease to love
you, for that would be impossible. Yet if to heal your sufferings it
should be necessary for you to love me no more, you must do your utmost
to succeed, for I would much rather see you alive without love, than dead
for having loved too much. Only try to find some other plan, for the one
you have proposed makes me very miserable. Think of it, there may be some
other way which will be less painful. Suggest one more practicable, and
depend upon Lucie's obedience."

These words, so true, so artless, so innocent, made me realize the
immense superiority of nature's eloquence over that of philosophical
intellect. For the first time I folded this angelic being in my arms,
exclaiming, "Yes, dearest Lucie, yes, thou hast it in thy power to afford
the sweetest relief to my devouring pain; abandon to my ardent kisses thy
divine lips which have just assured me of thy love."

An hour passed in the most delightful silence, which nothing interrupted
except these words murmured now and then by Lucie, "Oh, God! is it true?
is it not a dream?" Yet I respected her innocence, and the more readily
that she abandoned herself entirely and without the slightest resistance.
At last, extricating herself gently from my arms, she said, with some
uneasiness, "My heart begins to speak, I must go;" and she instantly
rose. Having somewhat rearranged her dress she sat down, and her mother,
coming in at that moment, complimented me upon my good looks and my
bright countenance, and told Lucie to dress herself to attend mass. Lucie
came back an hour later, and expressed her joy and her pride at the
wonderful cure she thought she had performed upon me, for the healthy
appearance I was then shewing convinced her of my love much better than
the pitiful state in which she had found me in the morning. "If your
complete happiness," she said, "rests in my power, be happy; there is
nothing that I can refuse you."

The moment she left me, still wavering between happiness and fear, I
understood that I was standing on the very brink of the abyss, and that
nothing but a most extraordinary determination could prevent me from
falling headlong into it.

I remained at Pasean until the end of September, and the last eleven
nights of my stay were passed in the undisturbed possession of Lucie,
who, secure in her mother's profound sleep, came to my room to enjoy in
my arms the most delicious hours. The burning ardour of my love was
increased by the abstinence to which I condemned myself, although Lucie
did everything in her power to make me break through my determination.
She could not fully enjoy the sweetness of the forbidden fruit unless I
plucked it without reserve, and the effect produced by our constantly
lying in each other's arms was too strong for a young girl to resist. She
tried everything she could to deceive me, and to make me believe that I
had already, and in reality, gathered the whole flower, but Bettina's
lessons had been too efficient to allow me to go on a wrong scent, and I
reached the end of my stay without yielding entirely to the temptation
she so fondly threw in my way. I promised her to return in the spring;
our farewell was tender and very sad, and I left her in a state of mind
and of body which must have been the cause of her misfortunes, which,
twenty years after, I had occasion to reproach myself with in Holland,
and which will ever remain upon my conscience.

A few days after my return to Venice, I had fallen back into all my old
habits, and resumed my courtship of Angela in the hope that I would
obtain from her, at least, as much as Lucie had granted to me. A certain
dread which to-day I can no longer trace in my nature, a sort of terror
of the consequences which might have a blighting influence upon my
future, prevented me from giving myself up to complete enjoyment. I do
not know whether I have ever been a truly honest man, but I am fully
aware that the feelings I fostered in my youth were by far more upright
than those I have, as I lived on, forced myself to accept. A wicked
philosophy throws down too many of these barriers which we call
prejudices.

The two sisters who were sharing Angela's embroidery lessons were her
intimate friends and the confidantes of all her secrets. I made their
acquaintance, and found that they disapproved of her extreme reserve
towards me. As I usually saw them with Angela and knew their intimacy
with her, I would, when I happened to meet them alone, tell them all my
sorrows, and, thinking only of my cruel sweetheart, I never was conceited
enough to propose that these young girls might fall in love with me; but
I often ventured to speak to them with all the blazing inspiration which
was burning in me--a liberty I would not have dared to take in the
presence of her whom I loved. True love always begets reserve; we fear to
be accused of exaggeration if we should give utterance to feelings
inspired, by passion, and the modest lover, in his dread of saying too
much, very often says too little.

The teacher of embroidery, an old bigot, who at first appeared not to
mind the attachment I skewed for Angela, got tired at last of my too
frequent visits, and mentioned them to the abbe, the uncle of my fair
lady. He told me kindly one day that I ought not to call at that house so
often, as my constant visits might be wrongly construed, and prove
detrimental to the reputation of his niece. His words fell upon me like a
thunder-bolt, but I mastered my feelings sufficiently to leave him
without incurring any suspicion, and I promised to follow his good
advice.

Three or four days afterwards, I paid a visit to the teacher of
embroidery, and, to make her believe that my visit was only intended for
her, I did not stop one instant near the young girls; yet I contrived to
slip in the hand of the eldest of the two sisters a note enclosing
another for my dear Angela, in which I explained why I had been compelled
to discontinue my visits, entreating her to devise some means by which I
could enjoy the happiness of seeing her and of conversing with her. In my
note to Nanette, I only begged her to give my letter to her friend,
adding that I would see them again the day after the morrow, and that I
trusted to her to find an opportunity for delivering me the answer. She
managed it all very cleverly, and, when I renewed my visit two days
afterwards, she gave me a letter without attracting the attention of
anyone. Nanette's letter enclosed a very short note from Angela, who,
disliking letter-writing, merely advised me to follow, if I could, the
plan proposed by her friend. Here is the copy of the letter written by
Nanette, which I have always kept, as well as all other letters which I
give in these Memoirs:

"There is nothing in the world, reverend sir, that I would not readily do
for my friend. She visits at our house every holiday, has supper with us,
and sleeps under our roof. I will suggest the best way for you to make
the acquaintance of Madame Orio, our aunt; but, if you obtain an
introduction to her, you must be very careful not to let her suspect your
preference for Angela, for our aunt would certainly object to her house
being made a place of rendezvous to facilitate your interviews with a
stranger to her family. Now for the plan I propose, and in the execution
of which I will give you every assistance in my power. Madame Orio,
although a woman of good station in life, is not wealthy, and she wishes
to have her name entered on the list of noble widows who receive the
bounties bestowed by the Confraternity of the Holy Sacrament, of which M.
de Malipiero is president. Last Sunday, Angela mentioned that you are in
the good graces of that nobleman, and that the best way to obtain his
patronage would be to ask you to entreat it in her behalf. The foolish
girl added that you were smitten with me, that all your visits to our
mistress of embroidery were made for my special benefit and for the sake
of entertaining me, and that I would find it a very easy task to interest
you in her favour. My aunt answered that, as you are a priest, there was
no fear of any harm, and she told me to write to you with an invitation
to call on her; I refused. The procurator Rosa, who is a great favourite
of my aunt's, was present; he approved of my refusal, saying that the
letter ought to be written by her and not by me, that it was for my aunt
to beg the honour of your visit on business of real importance, and that,
if there was any truth in the report of your love for me, you would not
fail to come. My aunt, by his advice, has therefore written the letter
which you will find at your house. If you wish to meet Angela, postpone
your visit to us until next Sunday. Should you succeed in obtaining M. de
Malipiero's good will in favour of my aunt, you will become the pet of
the household, but you must forgive me if I appear to treat you with
coolness, for I have said that I do not like you. I would advise you to
make love to my aunt, who is sixty years of age; M. Rosa will not be
jealous, and you will become dear to everyone. For my part, I will manage
for you an opportunity for some private conversation with Angela, and I
will do anything to convince you of my friendship. Adieu."

This plan appeared to me very well conceived, and, having the same
evening received Madame Orio's letter, I called upon her on the following
day, Sunday. I was welcomed in a very friendly manner, and the lady,
entreating me to exert in her behalf my influence with M. de Malipiero,
entrusted me with all the papers which I might require to succeed. I
undertook to do my utmost, and I took care to address only a few words to
Angela, but I directed all my gallant attentions to Nanette, who treated
me as coolly as could be. Finally, I won the friendship of the old
procurator Rosa, who, in after years, was of some service to me.

I had so much at stake in the success of Madame Orio's petition, that I
thought of nothing else, and knowing all the power of the beautiful
Therese Imer over our amorous senator, who would be but too happy to
please her in anything, I determined to call upon her the next day, and I
went straight to her room without being announced. I found her alone with
the physician Doro, who, feigning to be on a professional visit, wrote a
prescription, felt her pulse, and went off. This Doro was suspected of
being in love with Therese; M. de Malipiero, who was jealous, had
forbidden Therese to receive his visits, and she had promised to obey
him. She knew that I was acquainted with those circumstances, and my
presence was evidently unpleasant to her, for she had certainly no wish
that the old man should hear how she kept her promise. I thought that no
better opportunity could be found of obtaining from her everything I
wished.

I told her in a few words the object of my visit, and I took care to add
that she could rely upon my discretion, and that I would not for the
world do her any injury. Therese, grateful for this assurance, answered
that she rejoiced at finding an occasion to oblige me, and, asking me to
give her the papers of my protege, she shewed me the certificates and
testimonials of another lady in favour of whom she had undertaken to
speak, and whom, she said, she would sacrifice to the person in whose
behalf I felt interested. She kept her word, for the very next day she
placed in my hands the brevet, signed by his excellency as president of
the confraternity. For the present, and with the expectation of further
favours, Madame Orio's name was put down to share the bounties which were
distributed twice a year.

Nanette and her sister Marton were the orphan daughters of a sister of
Madame Orio. All the fortune of the good lady consisted in the house
which was her dwelling, the first floor being let, and in a pension given
to her by her brother, member of the council of ten. She lived alone with
her two charming nieces, the eldest sixteen, and the youngest fifteen
years of age. She kept no servant, and only employed an old woman, who,
for one crown a month, fetched water, and did the rough work. Her only
friend was the procurator Rosa; he had, like her, reached his sixtieth
year, and expected to marry her as soon as he should become a widower.

The two sisters slept together on the third floor in a large bed, which
was likewise shared by Angela every Sunday.

As soon as I found myself in possession of the deed for Madame Orio, I
hastened to pay a visit to the mistress of embroidery, in order to find
an opportunity of acquainting Nanette with my success, and in a short
note which I prepared, I informed her that in two days I would call to
give the brevet to Madame Orio, and I begged her earnestly not to forget
her promise to contrive a private interview with my dear Angela.

When I arrived, on the appointed day, at Madame Orio's house, Nanette,
who had watched for my coming, dexterously conveyed to my hand a billet,
requesting me to find a moment to read it before leaving the house. I
found Madame Orio, Angela, the old procurator, and Marton in the room.
Longing to read the note, I refused the seat offered to me, and
presenting to Madame Orio the deed she had so long desired, I asked, as
my only reward, the pleasure of kissing her hand, giving her to
understand that I wanted to leave the room immediately.

"Oh, my dear abbe!" said the lady, "you shall have a kiss, but not on my
hand, and no one can object to it, as I am thirty years older than you."

She might have said forty-five without going much astray. I gave her two
kisses, which evidently satisfied her, for she desired me to perform the
same ceremony with her nieces, but they both ran away, and Angela alone
stood the brunt of my hardihood. After this the widow asked me to sit
down.

"I cannot, Madame."

"Why, I beg?"

"I have--."

"I understand. Nanette, shew the way."

"Dear aunt, excuse me."

"Well, then, Marton."

"Oh! dear aunt, why do you not insist upon my sister obeying your
orders?"

"Alas! madame, these young ladies are quite right. Allow me to retire."

"No, my dear abbe, my nieces are very foolish; M. Rosa, I am sure, will
kindly."

The good procurator takes me affectionately by the hand, and leads me to
the third story, where he leaves me. The moment I am alone I open my
letter, and I read the following:

"My aunt will invite you to supper; do not accept. Go away as soon as we
sit down to table, and Marton will escort you as far as the street door,
but do not leave the house. When the street door is closed again,
everyone thinking you are gone, go upstairs in the dark as far as the
third floor, where you must wait for us. We will come up the moment M.
Rosa has left the house, and our aunt has gone to bed. Angela will be at
liberty to grant you throughout the night a tete-a-tete which, I trust,
will prove a happy one."

Oh! what joy-what gratitude for the lucky chance which allowed me to read
this letter on the very spot where I was to expect the dear abject of my
love! Certain of finding my way without the slightest difficulty, I
returned to Madame Orio's sitting-room, overwhelmed with happiness.




CHAPTER V

     An Unlucky Night I Fall in Love with the Two Sisters, and
     Forget Angela--A Ball at My House--Juliette's Humiliation--
     My Return to Pasian--Lucie's Misfortune--A Propitious Storm

[Illustration: 1c05.jpg]

On my reappearance, Madame Orio told me, with many heart-felt thanks,
that I must for the future consider myself as a privileged and welcome
friend, and the evening passed off very pleasantly. As the hour for
supper drew near, I excused myself so well that Madame Orio could not
insist upon my accepting her invitation to stay. Marton rose to light me
out of the room, but her aunt, believing Nanette to be my favourite, gave
her such an imperative order to accompany me that she was compelled to
obey. She went down the stairs rapidly, opened and closed the street door
very noisily, and putting her light out, she reentered the sitting room,
leaving me in darkness. I went upstairs softly: when I reached the third
landing I found the chamber of the two sisters, and, throwing myself upon
a sofa, I waited patiently for the rising of the star of my happiness. An
hour passed amidst the sweetest dreams of my imagination; at last I hear
the noise of the street door opening and closing, and, a few minutes
after, the two sisters come in with my Angela. I draw her towards me, and
caring for nobody else, I keep up for two full hours my conversation with
her. The clock strikes midnight; I am pitied for having gone so late
supperless, but I am shocked at such an idea; I answer that, with such
happiness as I am enjoying, I can suffer from no human want. I am told
that I am a prisoner, that the key of the house door is under the aunt's
pillow, and that it is opened only by herself as she goes in the morning
to the first mass. I wonder at my young friends imagining that such news
can be anything but delightful to me. I express all my joy at the
certainty of passing the next five hours with the beloved mistress of my
heart. Another hour is spent, when suddenly Nanette begins to laugh,
Angela wants to know the reason, and Marton whispering a few words to
her, they both laugh likewise. This puzzles me. In my turn, I want to
know what causes this general laughter, and at last Nanette, putting on
an air of anxiety, tells me that they have no more candle, and that in a
few minutes we shall be in the dark. This is a piece of news particularly
agreeable to me, but I do not let my satisfaction appear on my
countenance, and saying how truly I am sorry for their sake, I propose
that they should go to bed and sleep quietly under my respectful
guardianship. My proposal increases their merriment.

"What can we do in the dark?"

"We can talk."

We were four; for the last three hours we had been talking, and I was the
hero of the romance. Love is a great poet, its resources are
inexhaustible, but if the end it has in view is not obtained, it feels
weary and remains silent. My Angela listened willingly, but little
disposed to talk herself, she seldom answered, and she displayed good
sense rather than wit. To weaken the force of my arguments, she was often
satisfied with hurling at me a proverb, somewhat in the fashion of the
Romans throwing the catapult. Every time that my poor hands came to the
assistance of love, she drew herself back or repulsed me. Yet, in spite
of all, I went on talking and using my hands without losing courage, but
I gave myself up to despair when I found that my rather artful arguing
astounded her without bringing conviction to her heart, which was only
disquieted, never softened. On the other hand, I could see with
astonishment upon their countenances the impression made upon the two
sisters by the ardent speeches I poured out to Angela. This metaphysical
curve struck me as unnatural, it ought to have been an angle; I was then,
unhappily for myself, studying geometry. I was in such a state that,
notwithstanding the cold, I was perspiring profusely. At last the light
was nearly out, and Nanette took it away.

The moment we were in the dark, I very naturally extended my arms to
seize her whom I loved; but I only met with empty space, and I could not
help laughing at the rapidity with which Angela had availed herself of
the opportunity of escaping me. For one full hour I poured out all the
tender, cheerful words that love inspired me with, to persuade her to
come back to me; I could only suppose that it was a joke to tease me. But
I became impatient.

"The joke," I said, "has lasted long enough; it is foolish, as I could
not run after you, and I am surprised to hear you laugh, for your strange
conduct leads me to suppose that you are making fun of me. Come and take
your seat near me, and if I must speak to you without seeing you let my
hands assure me that I am not addressing my words to the empty air. To
continue this game would be an insult to me, and my love does not deserve
such a return."

"Well, be calm. I will listen to every word you may say, but you must
feel that it would not be decent for me to place myself near you in this
dark room."

"Do you want me to stand where I am until morning?"

"Lie down on the bed, and go to sleep."

"In wonder, indeed, at your thinking me capable of doing so in the state
I am in. Well, I suppose we must play at blind man's buff."

Thereupon, I began to feel right and left, everywhere, but in vain.
Whenever I caught anyone it always turned out to be Nanette or Marton,
who at once discovered themselves, and I, stupid Don Quixote, instantly
would let them go! Love and prejudice blinded me, I could not see how
ridiculous I was with my respectful reserve. I had not yet read the
anecdotes of Louis XIII, king of France, but I had read Boccacio. I kept
on seeking in vain, reproaching her with her cruelty, and entreating her
to let me catch her; but she would only answer that the difficulty of
meeting each other was mutual. The room was not large, and I was enraged
at my want of success.

Tired and still more vexed, I sat down, and for the next hour I told the
history of Roger, when Angelica disappears through the power of the magic
ring which the loving knight had so imprudently given her:

   'Cosi dicendo, intorno a la fortuna
   Brancolando n'andava come cieco.
   O quante volte abbraccio l'aria vana
   Speyando la donzella abbracciar seco'.

Angela had not read Ariosto, but Nanette had done so several times. She
undertook the defence of Angelica, and blamed the simplicity of Roger,
who, if he had been wise, would never have trusted the ring to a
coquette. I was delighted with Nanette, but I was yet too much of a
novice to apply her remarks to myself.

Only one more hour remained, and I was to leave before the break of day,
for Madame Orio would have died rather than give way to the temptation of
missing the early mass. During that hour I spoke to Angela, trying to
convince her that she ought to come and sit by me. My soul went through
every gradation of hope and despair, and the reader cannot possibly
realize it unless he has been placed in a similar position. I exhausted
the most convincing arguments; then I had recourse to prayers, and even
to tears; but, seeing all was useless, I gave way to that feeling of
noble indignation which lends dignity to anger. Had I not been in the
dark, I might, I truly believe, have struck the proud monster, the cruel
girl, who had thus for five hours condemned me to the most distressing
suffering. I poured out all the abuse, all the insulting words that
despised love can suggest to an infuriated mind; I loaded her with the
deepest curses; I swore that my love had entirely turned into hatred,
and, as a finale, I advised her to be careful, as I would kill her the
moment I would set my eyes on her.

My invectives came to an end with the darkness. At the first break of
day, and as soon as I heard the noise made by the bolt and the key of the
street door, which Madame Orio was opening to let herself out, that she
might seek in the church the repose of which her pious soul was in need,
I got myself ready and looked for my cloak and for my hat. But how can I
ever portray the consternation in which I was thrown when, casting a sly
glance upon the young friends, I found the three bathed in tears! In my
shame and despair I thought of committing suicide, and sitting down
again, I recollected my brutal speeches, and upbraided myself for having
wantonly caused them to weep. I could not say one word; I felt choking;
at last tears came to my assistance, and I gave way to a fit of crying
which relieved me. Nanette then remarked that her aunt would soon return
home; I dried my eyes, and, not venturing another look at Angela or at
her friends, I ran away without uttering a word, and threw myself on my
bed, where sleep would not visit my troubled mind.

At noon, M. de Malipiero, noticing the change in my countenance, enquired
what ailed me, and longing to unburden my heart, I told him all that had
happened. The wise old man did not laugh at my sorrow, but by his
sensible advice he managed to console me and to give me courage. He was
in the same predicament with the beautiful Therese. Yet he could not help
giving way to his merriment when at dinner he saw me, in spite of my
grief, eat with increased appetite; I had gone without my supper the
night before; he complimented me upon my happy constitution.

I was determined never to visit Madame Orio's house, and on that very day
I held an argument in metaphysics, in which I contended that any being of
whom we had only an abstract idea, could only exist abstractedly, and I
was right; but it was a very easy task to give to my thesis an
irreligious turn, and I was obliged to recant. A few days afterwards I
went to Padua, where I took my degree of doctor 'utroque jure'.

When I returned to Venice, I received a note from M. Rosa, who entreated
me to call upon Madame Orio; she wished to see me, and, feeling certain
of not meeting Angela, I paid her a visit the same evening. The two
graceful sisters were so kind, so pleasant, that they scattered to the
winds the shame I felt at seeing them after the fearful night I had
passed in their room two months before. The labours of writing my thesis
and passing my examination were of course sufficient excuses for Madame
Orio, who only wanted to reproach me for having remained so long away
from her house.

As I left, Nanette gave me a letter containing a note from Angela, the
contents of which ran as follows:

"If you are not afraid of passing another night with me you shall have no
reason to complain of me, for I love you, and I wish to hear from your
own lips whether you would still have loved me if I had consented to
become contemptible in your eyes."

This is the letter of Nanette, who alone had her wits about her:

"M. Rosa having undertaken to bring you back to our house, I prepare
these few lines to let you know that Angela is in despair at having lost
you. I confess that the night you spent with us was a cruel one, but I do
not think that you did rightly in giving up your visits to Madame Orio.
If you still feel any love for Angela, I advise you to take your chances
once more. Accept a rendezvous for another night; she may vindicate
herself, and you will be happy. Believe me; come. Farewell!"

Those two letters afforded me much gratification, for I had it in my
power to enjoy my revenge by shewing to Angela the coldest contempt.
Therefore, on the following Sunday I went to Madame Orio's house, having
provided myself with a smoked tongue and a couple of bottles of Cyprus
wine; but to my great surprise my cruel mistress was not there. Nanette
told me that she had met her at church in the morning, and that she would
not be able to come before supper-time. Trusting to that promise I
declined Madam Orio's invitation, and before the family sat down to
supper I left the room as I had done on the former occasion, and slipped
upstairs. I longed to represent the character I had prepared myself for,
and feeling assured that Angela, even if she should prove less cruel,
would only grant me insignificant favours, I despised them in
anticipation, and resolved to be avenged.

After waiting three quarters of an hour the street door was locked, and a
moment later Nanette and Marton entered the room.

"Where is Angela?" I enquired.

"She must have been unable to come, or to send a message. Yet she knows
you are here."

"She thinks she has made a fool of me; but I suspected she would act in
this way. You know her now. She is trifling with me, and very likely she
is now revelling in her triumph. She has made use of you to allure me in
the snare, and it is all the better for her; had she come, I meant to
have had my turn, and to have laughed at her."

"Ah! you must allow me to have my doubts as to that."

"Doubt me not, beautiful Nanette; the pleasant night we are going to
spend without her must convince you."

"That is to say that, as a man of sense, you can accept us as a
makeshift; but you can sleep here, and my sister can lie with me on the
sofa in the next room."

"I cannot hinder you, but it would be great unkindness on your part. At
all events, I do not intend to go to bed."

"What! you would have the courage to spend seven hours alone with us?
Why, I am certain that in a short time you will be at a loss what to say,
and you will fall asleep."

"Well, we shall see. In the mean-time here are provisions. You will not
be so cruel as to let me eat alone? Can you get any bread?"

"Yes, and to please you we must have a second supper."

"I ought to be in love with you. Tell me, beautiful Nanette, if I were as
much attached to you as I was to Angela, would you follow her example and
make me unhappy?"

"How can you ask such a question? It is worthy of a conceited man. All I
can answer is, that I do not know what I would do."

They laid the cloth, brought some bread, some Parmesan cheese and water,
laughing all the while, and then we went to work. The wine, to which they
were not accustomed, went to their heads, and their gaiety was soon
delightful. I wondered, as I looked at them, at my having been blind
enough not to see their merit.

After our supper, which was delicious, I sat between them, holding their
hands, which I pressed to my lips, asking them whether they were truly my
friends, and whether they approved of Angela's conduct towards me. They
both answered that it had made them shed many tears. "Then let me," I
said, "have for you the tender feelings of a brother, and share those
feelings yourselves as if you were my sisters; let us exchange, in all
innocence, proofs of our mutual affection, and swear to each other an
eternal fidelity."

The first kiss I gave them was prompted by entirely harmless motives, and
they returned the kiss, as they assured me a few days afterwards only to
prove to me that they reciprocated my brotherly feelings; but those
innocent kisses, as we repeated them, very soon became ardent ones, and
kindled a flame which certainly took us by surprise, for we stopped, as
by common consent, after a short time, looking at each other very much
astonished and rather serious. They both left me without affectation, and
I remained alone with my thoughts. Indeed, it was natural that the
burning kisses I had given and received should have sent through me the
fire of passion, and that I should suddenly have fallen madly in love
with the two amiable sisters. Both were handsomer than Angela, and they
were superior to her--Nanette by her charming wit, Marton by her sweet
and simple nature; I could not understand how I had been so long in
rendering them the justice they deserved, but they were the innocent
daughters of a noble family, and the lucky chance which had thrown them
in my way ought not to prove a calamity for them. I was not vain enough
to suppose that they loved me, but I could well enough admit that my
kisses had influenced them in the same manner that their kisses had
influenced me, and, believing this to be the case, it was evident that,
with a little cunning on my part, and of sly practices of which they were
ignorant, I could easily, during the long night I was going to spend with
them, obtain favours, the consequences of which might be very positive.
The very thought made me shudder, and I firmly resolved to respect their
virtue, never dreaming that circumstances might prove too strong for me.

When they returned, I read upon their countenances perfect security and
satisfaction, and I quickly put on the same appearance, with a full
determination not to expose myself again to the danger of their kisses.

For one hour we spoke of Angela, and I expressed my determination never
to see her again, as I had every proof that she did not care for me. "She
loves you," said the artless Marton; "I know she does, but if you do not
mean to marry her, you will do well to give up all intercourse with her,
for she is quite determined not to grant you even a kiss as long as you
are not her acknowledged suitor. You must therefore either give up the
acquaintance altogether, or make up your mind that she will refuse you
everything."

"You argue very well, but how do you know that she loves me?"

"I am quite sure of it, and as you have promised to be our brother, I can
tell you why I have that conviction. When Angela is in bed with me, she
embraces me lovingly and calls me her dear abbe."

The words were scarcely spoken when Nanette, laughing heartily, placed
her hand on her sister's lips, but the innocent confession had such an
effect upon me that I could hardly control myself.

Marton told Nanette that I could not possibly be ignorant of what takes
place between young girls sleeping together.

"There is no doubt," I said, "that everybody knows those trifles, and I
do not think, dear Nanette, that you ought to reproach your sister with
indiscretion for her friendly confidence."

"It cannot be helped now, but such things ought not to be mentioned. If
Angela knew it!"

"She would be vexed, of course; but Marton has given me a mark of her
friendship which I never can forget. But it is all over; I hate Angela,
and I do not mean to speak to her any more! she is false, and she wishes
my ruin."

"Yet, loving you, is she wrong to think of having you for her husband?"

"Granted that she is not; but she thinks only of her own self, for she
knows what I suffer, and her conduct would be very different if she loved
me. In the mean time, thanks to her imagination, she finds the means of
satisfying her senses with the charming Marton who kindly performs the
part of her husband."

Nanette laughed louder, but I kept very serious, and I went on talking to
her sister, and praising her sincerity. I said that very likely, and to
reciprocate her kindness, Angela must likewise have been her husband, but
she answered, with a smile, that Angela played husband only to Nanette,
and Nanette could not deny it.

"But," said I, "what name did Nanette, in her rapture, give to her
husband?"

"Nobody knows."

"Do you love anyone, Nanette?"

"I do; but my secret is my own."

This reserve gave me the suspicion that I had something to do with her
secret, and that Nanette was the rival of Angela. Such a delightful
conversation caused me to lose the wish of passing an idle night with two
girls so well made for love.

"It is very lucky," I exclaimed, "that I have for you only feelings of
friendship; otherwise it would be very hard to pass the night without
giving way to the temptation of bestowing upon you proofs of my
affection, for you are both so lovely, so bewitching, that you would turn
the brains of any man."

As I went on talking, I pretended to be somewhat sleepy; Nanette being
the first to notice it, said, "Go to bed without any ceremony, we will
lie down on the sofa in the adjoining room."

"I would be a very poor-spirited fellow indeed, if I agreed to this; let
us talk; my sleepiness will soon pass off, but I am anxious about you. Go
to bed yourselves, my charming friends, and I will go into the next room.
If you are afraid of me, lock the door, but you would do me an injustice,
for I feel only a brother's yearnings towards you."

"We cannot accept such an arrangement," said Nanette, "but let me
persuade you; take this bed."

"I cannot sleep with my clothes on."

"Undress yourself; we will not look at you."

"I have no fear of it, but how could I find the heart to sleep, while on
my account you are compelled to sit up?"

"Well," said Marton, "we can lie down, too, without undressing."

"If you shew me such distrust, you will offend me. Tell me, Nanette, do
you think I am an honest man?"

"Most certainly."

"Well, then, give me a proof of your good opinion; lie down near me in
the bed, undressed, and rely on my word of honour that I will not even
lay a finger upon you. Besides, you are two against one, what can you
fear? Will you not be free to get out of the bed in case I should not
keep quiet? In short, unless you consent to give me this mark of your
confidence in me, at least when I have fallen asleep, I cannot go to
bed."

I said no more, and pretended to be very sleepy. They exchanged a few
words, whispering to each other, and Marton told me to go to bed, that
they would follow me as soon as I was asleep. Nanette made me the same
promise, I turned my back to them, undressed myself quickly, and wishing
them good night, I went to bed. I immediately pretended to fall asleep,
but soon I dozed in good earnest, and only woke when they came to bed.
Then, turning round as if I wished to resume my slumbers, I remained very
quiet until I could suppose them fast asleep; at all events, if they did
not sleep, they were at liberty to pretend to do so. Their backs were
towards me, and the light was out; therefore I could only act at random,
and I paid my first compliments to the one who was lying on my right, not
knowing whether she was Nanette or Marton. I find her bent in two, and
wrapped up in the only garment she had kept on. Taking my time, and
sparing her modesty, I compel her by degrees to acknowledge her defeat,
and convince her that it is better to feign sleep and to let me proceed.
Her natural instincts soon working in concert with mine, I reach the
goal; and my efforts, crowned with the most complete success, leave me
not the shadow of a doubt that I have gathered those first-fruits to
which our prejudice makes us attach so great an importance. Enraptured at
having enjoyed my manhood completely and for the first time, I quietly
leave my beauty in order to do homage to the other sister. I find her
motionless, lying on her back like a person wrapped in profound and
undisturbed slumber. Carefully managing my advance, as if I were afraid
of waking her up, I begin by gently gratifying her senses, and I
ascertain the delightful fact that, like her sister, she is still in
possession of her maidenhood. As soon as a natural movement proves to me
that love accepts the offering, I take my measures to consummate the
sacrifice. At that moment, giving way suddenly to the violence of her
feelings, and tired of her assumed dissimulation, she warmly locks me in
her arms at the very instant of the voluptuous crisis, smothers me with
kisses, shares my raptures, and love blends our souls in the most
ecstatic enjoyment.

Guessing her to be Nanette, I whisper her name.

"Yes, I am Nanette," she answers; "and I declare myself happy, as well as
my sister, if you prove yourself true and faithful."

"Until death, my beloved ones, and as everything we have done is the work
of love, do not let us ever mention the name of Angela."

After this, I begged that she would give us a light; but Marton, always
kind and obliging, got out of bed leaving us alone. When I saw Nanette in
my arms, beaming with love, and Marton near the bed, holding a candle,
with her eyes reproaching us with ingratitude because we did not speak to
her, who, by accepting my first caresses, had encouraged her sister to
follow her example, I realized all my happiness.

"Let us get up, my darlings," said I, "and swear to each other eternal
affection."

When we had risen we performed, all three together, ablutions which made
them laugh a good deal, and which gave a new impetus to the ardour of our
feelings. Sitting up in the simple costume of nature, we ate the remains
of our supper, exchanging those thousand trifling words which love alone
can understand, and we again retired to our bed, where we spent a most
delightful night giving each other mutual and oft-repeated proofs of our
passionate ardour. Nanette was the recipient of my last bounties, for
Madame Orio having left the house to go to church, I had to hasten my
departure, after assuring the two lovely sisters that they had
effectually extinguished whatever flame might still have flickered in my
heart for Angela. I went home and slept soundly until dinner-time.

M. de Malipiero passed a remark upon my cheerful looks and the dark
circles around my eyes, but I kept my own counsel, and I allowed him to
think whatever he pleased. On the following day I paid a visit to Madame
Orio, and Angela not being of the party, I remained to supper and retired
with M. Rosa. During the evening Nanette contrived to give me a letter
and a small parcel. The parcel contained a small lump of wax with the
stamp of a key, and the letter told me to have a key made, and to use it
to enter the house whenever I wished to spend the night with them. She
informed me at the same time that Angela had slept with them the night
following our adventures, and that, thanks to their mutual and usual
practices, she had guessed the real state of things, that they had not
denied it, adding that it was all her fault, and that Angela, after
abusing them most vehemently, had sworn never again to darken their
doors; but they did not care a jot.

A few days afterwards our good fortune delivered us from Angela; she was
taken to Vicenza by her father, who had removed there for a couple of
years, having been engaged to paint frescoes in some houses in that city.
Thanks to her absence, I found myself undisturbed possessor of the two
charming sisters, with whom I spent at least two nights every week,
finding no difficulty in entering the house with the key which I had
speedily procured.

Carnival was nearly over, when M. Manzoni informed me one day that the
celebrated Juliette wished to see me, and regretted much that I had
ceased to visit her. I felt curious as to what she had to say to me, and
accompanied him to her house. She received me very politely, and
remarking that she had heard of a large hall I had in my house, she said
she would like to give a ball there, if I would give her the use of it. I
readily consented, and she handed me twenty-four sequins for the supper
and for the band, undertaking to send people to place chandeliers in the
hall and in my other rooms.

M. de Sanvitali had left Venice, and the Parmesan government had placed
his estates in chancery in consequence of his extravagant expenditure. I
met him at Versailles ten years afterwards. He wore the insignia of the
king's order of knighthood, and was grand equerry to the eldest daughter
of Louis XV., Duchess of Parma, who, like all the French princesses,
could not be reconciled to the climate of Italy.

The ball took place, and went off splendidly. All the guests belonged to
Juliette's set, with the exception of Madame Orio, her nieces, and the
procurator Rosa, who sat together in the room adjoining the hall, and
whom I had been permitted to introduce as persons of no consequence
whatever.

While the after-supper minuets were being danced Juliette took me apart,
and said, "Take me to your bedroom; I have just got an amusing idea."

My room was on the third story; I shewed her the way. The moment we
entered she bolted the door, much to my surprise. "I wish you," she said,
"to dress me up in your ecclesiastical clothes, and I will disguise you
as a woman with my own things. We will go down and dance together. Come,
let us first dress our hair."

Feeling sure of something pleasant to come, and delighted with such an
unusual adventure, I lose no time in arranging her hair, and I let her
afterwards dress mine. She applies rouge and a few beauty spots to my
face; I humour her in everything, and to prove her satisfaction, she
gives me with the best of grace a very loving kiss, on condition that I
do not ask for anything else.

"As you please, beautiful Juliette, but I give you due notice that I
adore you!"

I place upon my bed a shirt, an abbe's neckband, a pair of drawers, black
silk stockings--in fact, a complete fit-out. Coming near the bed,
Juliette drops her skirt, and cleverly gets into the drawers, which were
not a bad fit, but when she comes to the breeches there is some
difficulty; the waistband is too narrow, and the only remedy is to rip it
behind or to cut it, if necessary. I undertake to make everything right,
and, as I sit on the foot of my bed, she places herself in front of me,
with her back towards me. I begin my work, but she thinks that I want to
see too much, that I am not skilful enough, and that my fingers wander in
unnecessary places; she gets fidgety, leaves me, tears the breeches, and
manages in her own way. Then I help her to put her shoes on, and I pass
the shirt over her head, but as I am disposing the ruffle and the
neck-band, she complains of my hands being too curious; and in truth, her
bosom was rather scanty. She calls me a knave and rascal, but I take no
notice of her. I was not going to be duped, and I thought that a woman
who had been paid one hundred thousand ducats was well worth some study.
At last, her toilet being completed, my turn comes. In spite of her
objections I quickly get rid of my breeches, and she must put on me the
chemise, then a skirt, in a word she has to dress me up. But all at once,
playing the coquette, she gets angry because I do not conceal from her
looks the very apparent proof that her charms have some effect on a
particular part of my being, and she refuses to grant me the favour which
would soon afford both relief and calm. I try to kiss her, and she
repulses me, whereupon I lose patience, and in spite of herself she has
to witness the last stage of my excitement. At the sight of this, she
pours out every insulting word she can think of; I endeavour to prove
that she is to blame, but it is all in vain.

However, she is compelled to complete my disguise. There is no doubt that
an honest woman would not have exposed herself to such an adventure,
unless she had intended to prove her tender feelings, and that she would
not have drawn back at the very moment she saw them shared by her
companion; but women like Juliette are often guided by a spirit of
contradiction which causes them to act against their own interests.
Besides, she felt disappointed when she found out that I was not timid,
and my want of restraint appeared to her a want of respect. She would not
have objected to my stealing a few light favours which she would have
allowed me to take, as being of no importance, but, by doing that, I
should have flattered her vanity too highly.

Our disguise being complete, we went together to the dancing-hall, where
the enthusiastic applause of the guests soon restored our good temper.
Everybody gave me credit for a piece of fortune which I had not enjoyed,
but I was not ill-pleased with the rumour, and went on dancing with the
false abbe, who was only too charming. Juliette treated me so well during
the night that I construed her manners towards me into some sort of
repentance, and I almost regretted what had taken place between us; it
was a momentary weakness for which I was sorely punished.

At the end of the quadrille all the men thought they had a right to take
liberties with the abbe, and I became myself rather free with the young
girls, who would have been afraid of exposing themselves to ridicule had
they offered any opposition to my caresses.

M. Querini was foolish enough to enquire from me whether I had kept on my
breeches, and as I answered that I had been compelled to lend them to
Juliette, he looked very unhappy, sat down in a corner of the room, and
refused to dance.

Every one of the guests soon remarked that I had on a woman's chemise,
and nobody entertained a doubt of the sacrifice having been consummated,
with the exception of Nanette and Marton, who could not imagine the
possibility of my being unfaithful to them. Juliette perceived that she
had been guilty of great imprudence, but it was too late to remedy the
evil.

When we returned to my chamber upstairs, thinking that she had repented
of her previous behaviour, and feeling some desire to possess her, I
thought I would kiss her, and I took hold of her hand, saying I was
disposed to give her every satisfaction, but she quickly slapped my face
in so violent a manner that, in my indignation, I was very near returning
the compliment. I undressed myself rapidly without looking at her, she
did the same, and we came downstairs; but, in spite of the cold water I
had applied to my cheek, everyone could easily see the stamp of the large
hand which had come in contact with my face.

Before leaving the house, Juliette took me apart, and told me, in the
most decided and impressive manner, that if I had any fancy for being
thrown out of the window, I could enjoy that pleasure whenever I liked to
enter her dwelling, and that she would have me murdered if this night's
adventure ever became publicly known. I took care not to give her any
cause for the execution of either of her threats, but I could not prevent
the fact of our having exchanged shirts being rather notorious. As I was
not seen at her house, it was generally supposed that she had been
compelled by M. Querini to keep me at a distance. The reader will see
how, six years later, this extraordinary woman thought proper to feign
entire forgetfulness of this adventure.

I passed Lent, partly in the company of my loved ones, partly in the
study of experimental physics at the Convent of the Salutation. My
evenings were always given to M. de Malipiero's assemblies. At Easter, in
order to keep the promise I had made to the Countess of Mont-Real, and
longing to see again my beautiful Lucie, I went to Pasean. I found the
guests entirely different to the set I had met the previous autumn. Count
Daniel, the eldest of the family, had married a Countess Gozzi, and a
young and wealthy government official, who had married a god-daughter of
the old countess, was there with his wife and his sister-in-law. I
thought the supper very long. The same room had been given to me, and I
was burning to see Lucie, whom I did not intend to treat any more like a
child. I did not see her before going to bed, but I expected her early
the next morning, when lo! instead of her pretty face brightening my
eyes, I see standing before me a fat, ugly servant-girl! I enquire after
the gatekeeper's family, but her answer is given in the peculiar dialect
of the place, and is, of course, unintelligible to me.

I wonder what has become of Lucie; I fancy that our intimacy has been
found out, I fancy that she is ill--dead, perhaps. I dress myself with
the intention of looking for her. If she has been forbidden to see me, I
think to myself, I will be even with them all, for somehow or other I
will contrive the means of speaking to her, and out of spite I will do
with her that which honour prevented love from accomplishing. As I was
revolving such thoughts, the gate-keeper comes in with a sorrowful
countenance. I enquire after his wife's health, and after his daughter,
but at the name of Lucie his eyes are filled with tears.

"What! is she dead?"

"Would to God she were!"

"What has she done?"

"She has run away with Count Daniel's courier, and we have been unable to
trace her anywhere."

His wife comes in at the moment he replies, and at these words, which
renewed her grief, the poor woman faints away. The keeper, seeing how
sincerely I felt for his misery, tells me that this great misfortune
befell them only a week before my arrival.

"I know that man l'Aigle," I say; "he is a scoundrel. Did he ask to marry
Lucie?"

"No; he knew well enough that our consent would have been refused!"

"I wonder at Lucie acting in such a way."

"He seduced her, and her running away made us suspect the truth, for she
had become very stout."

"Had he known her long?"

"About a month after your last visit she saw him for the first time. He
must have thrown a spell over her, for our Lucie was as pure as a dove,
and you can, I believe, bear testimony to her goodness."

"And no one knows where they are?"

"No one. God alone knows what this villain will do with her."

I grieved as much as the unfortunate parents; I went out and took a long
ramble in the woods to give way to my sad feelings. During two hours I
cogitated over considerations, some true, some false, which were all
prefaced by an if. If I had paid this visit, as I might have done, a week
sooner, loving Lucie would have confided in me, and I would have
prevented that self-murder. If I had acted with her as with Nanette and
Marton, she would not have been left by me in that state of ardent
excitement which must have proved the principal cause of her fault, and
she would not have fallen a prey to that scoundrel. If she had not known
me before meeting the courier, her innocent soul would never have
listened to such a man. I was in despair, for in my conscience I
acknowledged myself the primary agent of this infamous seduction; I had
prepared the way for the villain.

Had I known where to find Lucie, I would certainly have gone forth on the
instant to seek for her, but no trace whatever of her whereabouts had
been discovered.

Before I had been made acquainted with Lucie's misfortune I felt great
pride at having had sufficient power over myself to respect her
innocence; but after hearing what had happened I was ashamed of my own
reserve, and I promised myself that for the future I would on that score
act more wisely. I felt truly miserable when my imagination painted the
probability of the unfortunate girl being left to poverty and shame,
cursing the remembrance of me, and hating me as the first cause of her
misery. This fatal event caused me to adopt a new system, which in after
years I carried sometimes rather too far.

I joined the cheerful guests of the countess in the gardens, and received
such a welcome that I was soon again in my usual spirits, and at dinner I
delighted everyone.

My sorrow was so great that it was necessary either to drive it away at
once or to leave Pasean. But a new life crept into my being as I examined
the face and the disposition of the newly-married lady. Her sister was
prettier, but I was beginning to feel afraid of a novice; I thought the
work too great.

This newly-married lady, who was between nineteen and twenty years of
age, drew upon herself everybody's attention by her over-strained and
unnatural manners. A great talker, with a memory crammed with maxims and
precepts often without sense, but of which she loved to make a show, very
devout, and so jealous of her husband that she did not conceal her
vexation when he expressed his satisfaction at being seated at table
opposite her sister, she laid herself open to much ridicule. Her husband
was a giddy young fellow, who perhaps felt very deep affection for his
wife, but who imagined that, through good breeding, he ought to appear
very indifferent, and whose vanity found pleasure in giving her constant
causes for jealousy. She, in her turn, had a great dread of passing for
an idiot if she did not shew her appreciation of, and her resentment for,
his conduct. She felt uneasy in the midst of good company, precisely
because she wished to appear thoroughly at home. If I prattled away with
some of my trilling nonsense, she would stare at me, and in her anxiety
not to be thought stupid, she would laugh out of season. Her oddity, her
awkwardness, and her self-conceit gave me the desire to know her better,
and I began to dance attendance upon her.

My attentions, important and unimportant, my constant care, ever my
fopperies, let everybody know that I meditated conquest. The husband was
duly warned, but, with a great show of intrepidity, he answered with a
joke every time he was told that I was a formidable rival. On my side I
assumed a modest, and even sometimes a careless appearance, when, to shew
his freedom from jealousy, he excited me to make love to his wife, who,
on her part, understood but little how to perform the part of fancy free.

I had been paying my address to her for five or six days with great
constancy, when, taking a walk with her in the garden, she imprudently
confided to me the reason of her anxiety respecting her husband, and how
wrong he was to give her any cause for jealousy. I told her, speaking as
an old friend, that the best way to punish him would be to take no
apparent notice of her, husband's preference for her sister, and to feign
to be herself in love with me. In order to entice her more easily to
follow my advice, I added that I was well aware of my plan being a very
difficult one to carry out, and that to play successfully such a
character a woman must be particularly witty. I had touched her weak
point, and she exclaimed that she would play the part to perfection; but
in spite of her self-confidence she acquitted herself so badly that
everybody understood that the plan was of my own scheming.

If I happened to be alone with her in the dark paths of the garden, and
tried to make her play her part in real earnest, she would take the
dangerous step of running away, and rejoining the other guests; the
result being that, on my reappearance, I was called a bad sportsman who
frightened the bird away. I would not fail at the first opportunity to
reproach her for her flight, and to represent the triumph she had thus
prepared for her spouse. I praised her mind, but lamented over the
shortcomings of her education; I said that the tone, the manners I
adopted towards her, were those of good society, and proved the great
esteem I entertained for her intelligence, but in the middle of all my
fine speeches, towards the eleventh or twelfth day of my courtship, she
suddenly put me out of all conceit by telling me that, being a priest, I
ought to know that every amorous connection was a deadly sin, that God
could see every action of His creatures, and that she would neither damn
her soul nor place herself under the necessity of saying to her confessor
that she had so far forgotten herself as to commit such a sin with a
priest. I objected that I was not yet a priest, but she foiled me by
enquiring point-blank whether or not the act I had in view was to be
numbered amongst the cardinal sins, for, not feeling the courage to deny
it, I felt that I must give up the argument and put an end to the
adventure.

A little consideration having considerably calmed my feelings, everybody
remarked my new countenance during dinner; and the old count, who was
very fond of a joke, expressed loudly his opinion that such quiet
demeanour on my part announced the complete success of my campaign.
Considering such a remark to be favourable to me, I took care to spew my
cruel devotee that such was the way the world would judge, but all this
was lost labour. Luck, however, stood me in good stead, and my efforts
were crowned with success in the following manner.

On Ascension Day, we all went to pay a visit to Madame Bergali, a
celebrated Italian poetess. On my return to Pasean the same evening, my
pretty mistress wished to get into a carriage for four persons in which
her husband and sister were already seated, while I was alone in a
two-wheeled chaise. I exclaimed at this, saying that such a mark of
distrust was indeed too pointed, and everybody remonstrated with her,
saying that she ought not to insult me so cruelly. She was compelled to
come with me, and having told the postillion that I wanted to go by the
nearest road, he left the other carriages, and took the way through the
forest of Cequini. The sky was clear and cloudless when we left, but in
less than half-an-hour we were visited by one of those storms so frequent
in the south, which appear likely to overthrow heaven and earth, and
which end rapidly, leaving behind them a bright sky and a cool
atmosphere, so that they do more good than harm.

"Oh, heavens!" exclaimed my companion, "we shall have a storm."

"Yes," I say, "and although the chaise is covered, the rain will spoil
your pretty dress. I am very sorry."

"I do not mind the dress; but the thunder frightens me so!"

"Close your ears."

"And the lightning?"

"Postillion, let us go somewhere for shelter."

"There is not a house, sir, for a league, and before we come to it, the
storm will have passed off."

He quietly keeps on his way, and the lightning flashes, the thunder sends
forth its mighty voice, and the lady shudders with fright. The rain comes
down in torrents, I take off my cloak to shelter us in front, at the same
moment we are blinded by a flash of lightning, and the electric fluid
strikes the earth within one hundred yards of us. The horses plunge and
prance with fear, and my companion falls in spasmodic convulsions. She
throws herself upon me, and folds me in her arms. The cloak had gone
down, I stoop to place it around us, and improving my opportunity I take
up her clothes. She tries to pull them down, but another clap of thunder
deprives her of every particle of strength. Covering her with the cloak,
I draw her towards me, and the motion of the chaise coming to my
assistance, she falls over me in the most favourable position. I lose no
time, and under pretence of arranging my watch in my fob, I prepare
myself for the assault. On her side, conscious that, unless she stops me
at once, all is lost, she makes a great effort; but I hold her tightly,
saying that if she does not feign a fainting fit, the post-boy will turn
round and see everything; I let her enjoy the pleasure of calling me an
infidel, a monster, anything she likes, but my victory is the most
complete that ever a champion achieved.

The rain, however, was falling, the wind, which was very high, blew in
our faces, and, compelled to stay where she was, she said I would ruin
her reputation, as the postillion could see everything.

"I keep my eye upon him," I answered, "he is not thinking of us, and even
if he should turn his head, the cloak shelters us from him. Be quiet, and
pretend to have fainted, for I will not let you go."

She seems resigned, and asks how I can thus set the storm at defiance.

"The storm, dear one, is my best friend to-day."

She almost seems to believe me, her fear vanishes, and feeling my
rapture, she enquires whether I have done. I smile and answer in the
negative, stating that I cannot let her go till the storm is over.
"Consent to everything, or I let the cloak drop," I say to her.

"Well, you dreadful man, are you satisfied, now that you have insured my
misery for the remainder of my life?"

"No, not yet."

"What more do you want?"

"A shower of kisses."

"How unhappy I am! Well! here they are."

"Tell me you forgive me, and confess that you have shared all my
pleasure."

"You know I did. Yes, I forgive you."

Then I give her her liberty, and treating her to some very pleasant
caresses, I ask her to have the same kindness for me, and she goes to
work with a smile on her pretty lips.

"Tell me you love me," I say to her.

"No, I do not, for you are an atheist, and hell awaits you."

The weather was fine again, and the elements calm; I kissed her hands and
told her that the postillion had certainly not seen anything, and that I
was sure I had cured her of her dread of thunder, but that she was not
likely to reveal the secret of my remedy. She answered that one thing at
least was certain, namely that no other woman had ever been cured by the
same prescription.

"Why," I said, "the same remedy has very likely been applied a million of
times within the last thousand years. To tell you the truth, I had
somewhat depended upon it, when we entered the chaise together, for I did
not know any other way of obtaining the happiness of possessing you. But
console yourself with the belief that, placed in the same position, no
frightened woman could have resisted."

"I believe you; but for the future I will travel only with my husband."

"You would be wrong, for your husband would not have been clever enough
to cure your fright in the way I have done."

"True, again. One learns some curious things in your company; but we
shall not travel tete-a-tete again."

We reached Pasean an hour before our friends. We get out of the chaise,
and my fair mistress ran off to her chamber, while I was looking for a
crown for the postillion. I saw that he was grinning.

"What are you laughing at?"

"Oh! you know."

"Here, take this ducat and keep a quiet tongue in your head."




CHAPTER VI

     My Grandmother's Death and Its Consequences I Lose M. de
     Malipiero's Friendship--I Have No Longer a Home--
     La Tintoretta--I Am Sent to a Clerical Seminary--I Am Expelled
     From It, and Confined in a Fortress

During supper the conversation turned altogether upon the storm, and the
official, who knew the weakness of his wife, told me that he was quite
certain I would never travel with her again. "Nor I with him," his wife
remarked, "for, in his fearful impiety, he exorcised the lightning with
jokes."

Henceforth she avoided me so skilfully that I never could contrive
another interview with her.

When I returned to Venice I found my grandmother ill, and I had to change
all my habits, for I loved her too dearly not to surround her with every
care and attention; I never left her until she had breathed her last. She
was unable to leave me anything, for during her life she had given me all
she could, and her death compelled me to adopt an entirely different mode
of life.

A month after her death, I received a letter from my mother informing me
that, as there was no probability of her return to Venice, she had
determined to give up the house, the rent of which she was still paying,
that she had communicated her intention to the Abbe Grimani, and that I
was to be guided entirely by his advice.

He was instructed to sell the furniture, and to place me, as well as my
brothers and my sister, in a good boarding-house. I called upon Grimani
to assure him of my perfect disposition to obey his commands.

The rent of the house had been paid until the end of the year; but, as I
was aware that the furniture would be sold on the expiration of the term,
I placed my wants under no restraint. I had already sold some linen, most
of the china, and several tapestries; I now began to dispose of the
mirrors, beds, etc. I had no doubt that my conduct would be severely
blamed, but I knew likewise that it was my father's inheritance, to which
my mother had no claim whatever, and, as to my brothers, there was plenty
of time before any explanation could take place between us.

Four months afterwards I had a second letter from my mother, dated from
Warsaw, and enclosing another. Here is the translation of my mother's
letter:

"My dear son, I have made here the acquaintance of a learned Minim friar,
a Calabrian by birth, whose great qualities have made me think of you
every time he has honoured me with a visit. A year ago I told him that I
had a son who was preparing himself for the Church, but that I had not
the means of keeping him during his studies, and he promised that my son
would become his own child, if I could obtain for him from the queen a
bishopric in his native country, and he added that it would be very easy
to succeed if I could induce the sovereign to recommend him to her
daughter, the queen of Naples.

"Full of trust in the Almighty, I threw myself at the feet of her
majesty, who granted me her gracious protection. She wrote to her
daughter, and the worthy friar has been appointed by the Pope to the
bishopric of Monterano. Faithful to his promise, the good bishop will
take you with him about the middle of next year, as he passes through
Venice to reach Calabria. He informs you himself of his intentions in the
enclosed letter. Answer him immediately, my dear son, and forward your
letter to me; I will deliver it to the bishop. He will pave your way to
the highest dignities of the Church, and you may imagine my consolation
if, in some twenty or thirty years, I had the happiness of seeing you a
bishop, at least! Until his arrival, M. Grimani will take care of you. I
give you my blessing, and I am, my dear child, etc., etc."

The bishop's letter was written in Latin, and was only a repetition of my
mother's. It was full of unction, and informed me that he would tarry but
three days in Venice.

I answered according to my mother's wishes, but those two letters had
turned my brain. I looked upon my fortune as made. I longed to enter the
road which was to lead me to it, and I congratulated myself that I could
leave my country without any regret. Farewell, Venice, I exclaimed; the
days for vanity are gone by, and in the future I will only think of a
great, of a substantial career! M. Grimani congratulated me warmly on my
good luck, and promised all his friendly care to secure a good
boarding-house, to which I would go at the beginning of the year, and
where I would wait for the bishop's arrival.

M. de Malipiero, who in his own way had great wisdom, and who saw that in
Venice I was plunging headlong into pleasures and dissipation, and was
only wasting a precious time, was delighted to see me on the eve of going
somewhere else to fulfil my destiny, and much pleased with my ready
acceptance of those new circumstances in my life. He read me a lesson
which I have never forgotten. "The famous precept of the Stoic
philosophers," he said to me, "'Sequere Deum', can be perfectly explained
by these words: 'Give yourself up to whatever fate offers to you,
provided you do not feel an invincible repugnance to accept it.'" He
added that it was the genius of Socrates, 'saepe revocans, raro
impellens'; and that it was the origin of the 'fata viam inveniunt' of
the same philosophers.

M. de Malipiero's science was embodied in that very lesson, for he had
obtained his knowledge by the study of only one book--the book of man.
However, as if it were to give me the proof that perfection does not
exist, and that there is a bad side as well as a good one to everything,
a certain adventure happened to me a month afterwards which, although I
was following his own maxims, cost me the loss of his friendship, and
which certainly did not teach me anything.

The senator fancied that he could trace upon the physiognomy of young
people certain signs which marked them out as the special favourites of
fortune. When he imagined that he had discovered those signs upon any
individual, he would take him in hand and instruct him how to assist
fortune by good and wise principles; and he used to say, with a great
deal of truth, that a good remedy would turn into poison in the hands of
a fool, but that poison is a good remedy when administered by a learned
man. He had, in my time, three favourites in whose education he took
great pains. They were, besides myself, Therese Imer, with whom the
reader has a slight acquaintance already, and the third was the daughter
of the boatman Gardela, a girl three years younger than I, who had the
prettiest and most fascinating countenance. The speculative old man, in
order to assist fortune in her particular case, made her learn dancing,
for, he would say, the ball cannot reach the pocket unless someone pushes
it. This girl made a great reputation at Stuttgard under the name of
Augusta. She was the favourite mistress of the Duke of Wurtemburg in
1757. She was a most charming woman. The last time I saw her she was in
Venice, and she died two years afterwards. Her husband, Michel de
l'Agata, poisoned himself a short time after her death.

One day we had all three dined with him, and after dinner the senator
left us, as was his wont, to enjoy his siesta; the little Gardela, having
a dancing lesson to take, went away soon after him, and I found myself
alone with Therese, whom I rather admired, although I had never made love
to her. We were sitting down at a table very near each other, with our
backs to the door of the room in which we thought our patron fast asleep,
and somehow or other we took a fancy to examine into the difference of
conformation between a girl and a boy; but at the most interesting part
of our study a violent blow on my shoulders from a stick, followed by
another, and which would have been itself followed by many more if I had
not ran away, compelled us to abandon our interesting investigation
unfinished. I got off without hat or cloak, and went home; but in less
than a quarter of an hour the old housekeeper of the senator brought my
clothes with a letter which contained a command never to present myself
again at the mansion of his excellency. I immediately wrote him an answer
in the following terms: "You have struck me while you were the slave of
your anger; you cannot therefore boast of having given me a lesson, and I
have not learned anything. To forgive you I must forget that you are a
man of great wisdom, and I can never forget it."

This nobleman was perhaps quite right not to be pleased with the sight we
gave him; yet, with all his prudence, he proved himself very unwise, for
all the servants were acquainted with the cause of my exile, and, of
course, the adventure was soon known through the city, and was received
with great merriment. He dared not address any reproaches to Therese, as
I heard from her soon after, but she could not venture to entreat him to
pardon me.

The time to leave my father's house was drawing near, and one fine
morning I received the visit of a man about forty years old, with a black
wig, a scarlet cloak, and a very swarthy complexion, who handed me a
letter from M. Grimani, ordering me to consign to the bearer all the
furniture of the house according to the inventory, a copy of which was in
my possession. Taking the inventory in my hand, I pointed out every
article marked down, except when the said article, having through my
instrumentality taken an airing out of the house, happened to be missing,
and whenever any article was absent I said that I had not the slightest
idea where it might be. But the uncouth fellow, taking a very high tone,
said loudly that he must know what I had done with the furniture. His
manner being very disagreeable to me, I answered that I had nothing to do
with him, and as he still raised his voice I advised him to take himself
off as quickly as possible, and I gave him that piece of advice in such a
way as to prove to him that, at home, I knew I was the more powerful of
the two.

Feeling it my duty to give information to M. Grimani of what had just
taken place, I called upon him as soon as he was up, but I found that my
man was already there, and that he had given his own account of the
affair. The abbe, after a very severe lecture to which I had to listen in
silence, ordered me to render an account of all the missing articles. I
answered that I had found myself under the necessity of selling them to
avoid running into debt. This confession threw him in a violent passion;
he called me a rascal, said that those things did not belong to me, that
he knew what he had to do, and he commanded me to leave his house on the
very instant.

Mad with rage, I ran for a Jew, to whom I wanted to sell what remained of
the furniture, but when I returned to my house I found a bailiff waiting
at the door, and he handed me a summons. I looked over it and perceived
that it was issued at the instance of Antonio Razetta. It was the name of
the fellow with the swarthy countenance. The seals were already affixed
on all the doors, and I was not even allowed to go to my room, for a
keeper had been left there by the bailiff. I lost no time, and called
upon M. Rosa, to whom I related all the circumstances. After reading the
summons he said,

"The seals shall be removed to-morrow morning, and in the meantime I
shall summon Razetta before the avogador. But to-night, my dear friend,"
he added, "you must beg the hospitality of some one of your
acquaintances. It has been a violent proceeding, but you shall be paid
handsomely for it; the man is evidently acting under M. Grimani's
orders."

"Well, that is their business."

I spent the night with Nanette and Marton, and on the following morning,
the seals having been taken off, I took possession of my dwelling.
Razetta did not appear before the 'avogador', and M. Rosa summoned him in
my name before the criminal court, and obtained against him a writ of
'capias' in case he should not obey the second summons. On the third day
M. Grimani wrote to me, commanding me to call upon him. I went
immediately. As soon as I was in his presence he enquired abruptly what
my intentions were.

"I intend to shield myself from your violent proceedings under the
protection of the law, and to defend myself against a man with whom I
ought never to have had any connection, and who has compelled me to pass
the night in a disreputable place."

"In a disreputable place?"

"Of course. Why was I, against all right and justice, prevented from
entering my own dwelling?"

"You have possession of it now. But you must go to your lawyer and tell
him to suspend all proceedings against Razetta, who has done nothing but
under my instructions. I suspected that your intention was to sell the
rest of the furniture; I have prevented it. There is a room at your
disposal at St. Chrysostom's, in a house of mine, the first floor of
which is occupied by La Tintoretta, our first opera dancer. Send all your
things there, and come and dine with me every day. Your sister and your
brothers have been provided with a comfortable home; therefore,
everything is now arranged for the best."

I called at once upon M. Rosa, to whom I explained all that had taken
place, and his advice being to give way to M. Grimani's wishes, I
determined to follow it. Besides, the arrangement offered the best
satisfaction I could obtain, as to be a guest at his dinner table was an
honour for me. I was likewise full of curiosity respecting my new lodging
under the same roof with La Tintoretta, who was much talked of, owing to
a certain Prince of Waldeck who was extravagantly generous with her.

The bishop was expected in the course of the summer; I had, therefore,
only six months more to wait in Venice before taking the road which would
lead me, perhaps, to the throne of Saint Peter: everything in the future
assumed in my eyes the brightest hue, and my imagination revelled amongst
the most radiant beams of sunshine; my castles in the air were indeed
most beautiful.

I dined the same day with M. Grimani, and I found myself seated next to
Razetta--an unpleasant neighbour, but I took no notice of him. When the
meal was over, I paid a last visit to my beautiful house in
Saint-Samuel's parish, and sent all I possessed in a gondola to my new
lodging.

I did not know Signora Tintoretta, but I was well acquainted with her
reputation, character and manners. She was but a poor dancer, neither
handsome nor plain, but a woman of wit and intellect. Prince Waldeck
spent a great deal for her, and yet he did not prevent her from retaining
the titulary protection of a noble Venetian of the Lin family, now
extinct, a man about sixty years of age, who was her visitor at every
hour of the day. This nobleman, who knew me, came to my room towards the
evening, with the compliments of the lady, who, he added, was delighted
to have me in her house, and would be pleased to receive me in her
intimate circle.

To excuse myself for not having been the first to pay my respects to the
signora, I told M. Lin that I did not know she was my neighbour, that M.
Grimani had not mentioned the circumstance, otherwise I would have paid
my duties to her before taking possession of my lodging. After this
apology I followed the ambassador, he presented me to his mistress, and
the acquaintance was made.

She received me like a princess, took off her glove before giving me her
hand to kiss, mentioned my name before five or six strangers who were
present, and whose names she gave me, and invited me to take a seat near
her. As she was a native of Venice, I thought it was absurd for her to
speak French to me, and I told her that I was not acquainted with that
language, and would feel grateful if she would converse in Italian. She
was surprised at my not speaking French, and said I would cut but a poor
figure in her drawing-room, as they seldom spoke any other language
there, because she received a great many foreigners. I promised to learn
French. Prince Waldeck came in during the evening; I was introduced to
him, and he gave me a very friendly welcome. He could speak Italian very
well, and during the carnival he chewed me great kindness. He presented
me with a gold snuffbox as a reward for a very poor sonnet which I had
written for his dear Grizellini. This was her family name; she was called
Tintoretta because her father had been a dyer.

The Tintoretta had greater claims than Juliette to the admiration of
sensible men. She loved poetry, and if it had not been that I was
expecting the bishop, I would have fallen in love with her. She was
herself smitten with a young physician of great merit, named Righelini,
who died in the prime of life, and whom I still regret. I shall have to
mention him in another part of my Memoirs.

Towards the end of the carnival, my mother wrote to M. Grimani that it
would be a great shame if the bishop found me under the roof of an opera
dancer, and he made up his mind to lodge me in a respectable and decent
place. He took the Abbe Tosello into consultation, and the two gentlemen
thought that the best thing they could do for me would be to send me to a
clerical seminary. They arranged everything unknown to me, and the abbe
undertook to inform me of their plan and to obtain from me a gracious
consent. But when I heard him speak with beautiful flowers of rhetoric
for the purpose of gilding the bitter pill, I could not help bursting
into a joyous laughter, and I astounded his reverence when I expressed my
readiness to go anywhere he might think right to send me.

The plan of the two worthy gentlemen was absurd, for at the age of
seventeen, and with a nature like mine, the idea of placing me in a
seminary ought never to have been entertained, but ever a faithful
disciple of Socrates, feeling no unconquerable reluctance, and the plan,
on the contrary, appearing to me rather a good joke, I not only gave a
ready consent, but I even longed to enter the seminary. I told M. Grimani
I was prepared to accept anything, provided Razetta had nothing to do
with it. He gave me his promise, but he did not keep it when I left the
seminary. I have never been able to decide whether this Grimani was kind
because he was a fool, or whether his stupidity was the result of his
kindness, but all his brothers were the same. The worst trick that Dame
Fortune can play upon an intelligent young man is to place him under the
dependence of a fool. A few days afterwards, having been dressed as a
pupil of a clerical seminary by the care of the abbe, I was taken to
Saint-Cyprian de Muran and introduced to the rector.

The patriarchal church of Saint-Cyprian is served by an order of the
monks, founded by the blessed Jerome Miani, a nobleman of Venice. The
rector received me with tender affection and great kindness. But in his
address (which was full of unction) I thought I could perceive a
suspicion on his part that my being sent to the seminary was a
punishment, or at least a way to put a stop to an irregular life, and,
feeling hurt in my dignity, I told him at once, "Reverend father, I do
not think that any one has the right of punishing me."

"No, no, my son," he answered, "I only meant that you would be very happy
with us."

We were then shewn three halls, in which we found at least one hundred
and fifty seminarists, ten or twelve schoolrooms, the refectory, the
dormitory, the gardens for play hours, and every pain was taken to make
me imagine life in such a place the happiest that could fall to the lot
of a young man, and to make me suppose that I would even regret the
arrival of the bishop. Yet they all tried to cheer me up by saying that I
would only remain there five or six months. Their eloquence amused me
greatly.

I entered the seminary at the beginning of March, and prepared myself for
my new life by passing the night between my two young friends, Nanette
and Marton, who bathed their pillows with tears; they could not
understand, and this was likewise the feeling of their aunt and of the
good M. Rosa, how a young man like myself could shew such obedience.

The day before going to the seminary, I had taken care to entrust all my
papers to Madame Manzoni. They made a large parcel, and I left it in her
hands for fifteen years. The worthy old lady is still alive, and with her
ninety years she enjoys good health and a cheerful temper. She received
me with a smile, and told me that I would not remain one month in the
seminary.

"I beg your pardon, madam, but I am very glad to go there, and intend to
remain until the arrival of the bishop."

"You do not know your own nature, and you do not know your bishop, with
whom you will not remain very long either."

The abbe accompanied me to the seminary in a gondola, but at Saint-Michel
he had to stop in consequence of a violent attack of vomiting which
seized me suddenly; the apothecary cured me with some mint-water.

I was indebted for this attack to the too frequent sacrifices which I had
been offering on the altar of love. Any lover who knows what his feelings
were when he found himself with the woman he adored and with the fear
that it was for the last time, will easily imagine my feelings during the
last hours that I expected ever to spend with my two charming mistresses.
I could not be induced to let the last offering be the last, and I went
on offering until there was no more incense left.

The priest committed me to the care of the rector, and my luggage was
carried to the dormitory, where I went myself to deposit my cloak and my
hat. I was not placed amongst the adults, because, notwithstanding my
size, I was not old enough. Besides, I would not shave myself, through
vanity, because I thought that the down on my face left no doubt of my
youth. It was ridiculous, of course; but when does man cease to be so? We
get rid of our vices more easily than of our follies. Tyranny has not had
sufficient power over me to compel me to shave myself; it is only in that
respect that I have found tyranny to be tolerant.

"To which school do you wish to belong?" asked the rector.

"To the dogmatic, reverend father; I wish to study the history of the
Church."

"I will introduce you to the father examiner."

"I am doctor in divinity, most reverend father, and do not want to be
examined."

"It is necessary, my dear son; come with me."

This necessity appeared to me an insult, and I felt very angry; but a
spirit of revenge quickly whispered to me the best way to mystify them,
and the idea made me very joyful. I answered so badly all the questions
propounded in Latin by the examiner, I made so many solecisms, that he
felt it his duty to send me to an inferior class of grammar, in which, to
my great delight, I found myself the companion of some twenty young
urchins of about ten years, who, hearing that I was doctor in divinity,
kept on saying: 'Accipiamus pecuniam, et mittamus asinum in patriam
suam'.

Our play hours afforded me great amusement; my companions of the
dormitory, who were all in the class of philosophy at least, looked down
upon me with great contempt, and when they spoke of their own sublime
discourses, they laughed if I appeared to be listening attentively to
their discussions which, as they thought, must have been perfect enigmas
to me. I did not intend to betray myself, but an accident, which I could
not avoid, forced me to throw off the mask.

Father Barbarigo, belonging to the Convent of the Salutation at Venice,
whose pupil I had been in physics, came to pay a visit to the rector, and
seeing me as we were coming from mass paid me his friendly compliments.
His first question was to enquire what science I was studying, and he
thought I was joking when I answered that I was learning the grammar. The
rector having joined us, I left them together, and went to my class. An
our later, the rector sent for me.

"Why did you feign such ignorance at the examination?" he asked.

"Why," I answered, "were you unjust enough to compel me to the
degradation of an examination?"

He looked annoyed, and escorted me to the dogmatic school, where my
comrades of the dormitory received me with great astonishment, and in the
afternoon, at play time, they gathered around me and made me very happy
with their professions of friendship.

One of them, about fifteen years old, and who at the present time must,
if still alive, be a bishop, attracted my notice by his features as much
as by his talents. He inspired me with a very warm friendship, and during
recess, instead of playing skittles with the others, we always walked
together. We conversed upon poetry, and we both delighted in the
beautiful odes of Horace. We liked Ariosto better than Tasso, and
Petrarch had our whole admiration, while Tassoni and Muratori, who had
been his critics, were the special objects of our contempt. We were such
fast friends, after four days of acquaintance, that we were actually
jealous of each other, and to such an extent that if either of us walked
about with any seminarist, the other would be angry and sulk like a
disappointed lover.

The dormitory was placed under the supervision of a lay friar, and it was
his province to keep us in good order. After supper, accompanied by this
lay friar, who had the title of prefect, we all proceeded to the
dormitory. There, everyone had to go to his own bed, and to undress
quietly after having said his prayers in a low voice. When all the pupils
were in bed, the prefect would go to his own. A large lantern lighted up
the dormitory, which had the shape of a parallelogram eighty yards by
ten. The beds were placed at equal distances, and to each bed there were
a fold-stool, a chair, and room for the trunk of the Seminarist. At one
end was the washing place, and at the other the bed of the prefect. The
bed of my friend was opposite mine, and the lantern was between us.

The principal duty of the prefect was to take care that no pupil should
go and sleep with one of his comrades, for such a visit was never
supposed an innocent one. It was a cardinal sin, and, bed being accounted
the place for sleep and not for conversation, it was admitted that a
pupil who slept out of his own bed, did so only for immoral purposes. So
long as he stopped in his own bed, he could do what he liked; so much the
worse for him if he gave himself up to bad practices. It has been
remarked in Germany that it is precisely in those institutions for young
men in which the directors have taken most pains to prevent onanism that
this vice is most prevalent.

Those who had framed the regulations in our seminary were stupid fools,
who had not the slightest knowledge of either morals or human nature.
Nature has wants which must be administered to, and Tissot is right only
as far as the abuse of nature is concerned, but this abuse would very
seldom occur if the directors exercised proper wisdom and prudence, and
if they did not make a point of forbidding it in a special and peculiar
manner; young people give way to dangerous excesses from a sheer delight
in disobedience,--a disposition very natural to humankind, since it began
with Adam and Eve.

I had been in the seminary for nine or ten days, when one night I felt
someone stealing very quietly in my bed; my hand was at once clutched,
and my name whispered. I could hardly restrain my laughter. It was my
friend, who, having chanced to wake up and finding that the lantern was
out, had taken a sudden fancy to pay me a visit. I very soon begged him
to go away for fear the prefect should be awake, for in such a case we
should have found ourselves in a very unpleasant dilemma, and most likely
would have been accused of some abominable offence. As I was giving him
that good advice we heard someone moving, and my friend made his escape;
but immediately after he had left me I heard the fall of some person, and
at the same time the hoarse voice of the prefect exclaiming:

"Ah, villain! wait until to-morrow--until to-morrow!"

After which threat he lighted the lantern and retired to his couch.

The next morning, before the ringing of the bell for rising, the rector,
followed by the prefect, entered the dormitory, and said to us:

"Listen to me, all of you. You are aware of what has taken place this
last night. Two amongst you must be guilty; but I wish to forgive them,
and to save their honour I promise that their names shall not be made
public. I expect every one of you to come to me for confession before
recess."

He left the dormitory, and we dressed ourselves. In the afternoon, in
obedience to his orders, we all went to him and confessed, after which
ceremony we repaired to the garden, where my friend told me that, having
unfortunately met the prefect after he left me, he had thought that the
best way was to knock him down, in order to get time to reach his own bed
without being known.

"And now," I said, "you are certain of being forgiven, for, of course,
you have wisely confessed your error?"

"You are joking," answered my friend; "why, the good rector would not
have known any more than he knows at present, even if my visit to you had
been paid with a criminal intent."

"Then you must have made a false confession: you are at all events guilty
of disobedience?"

"That may be, but the rector is responsible for the guilt, as he used
compulsion."

"My dear friend, you argue in a very forcible way, and the very reverend
rector must by this time be satisfied that the inmates of our dormitory
are more learned than he is himself."

No more would have been said about the adventure if, a few nights after,
I had not in my turn taken a fancy to return the visit paid by my friend.
Towards midnight, having had occasion to get out of bed, and hearing the
loud snoring of the prefect, I quickly put out the lantern and went to
lie beside my friend. He knew me at once, and gladly received me; but we
both listened attentively to the snoring of our keeper, and when it
ceased, understanding our danger, I got up and reached my own bed without
losing a second, but the moment I got to it I had a double surprise. In
the first place I felt somebody lying in my bed, and in the second I saw
the prefect, with a candle in his hand, coming along slowly and taking a
survey of all the beds right and left. I could understand the prefect
suddenly lighting a candle, but how could I realize what I saw--namely,
one of my comrades sleeping soundly in my bed, with his back turned to
me? I immediately made up my mind to feign sleep. After two or three
shakings given by the prefect, I pretended to wake up, and my
bed-companion woke up in earnest. Astonished at finding himself in my
bed, he offered me an apology:

"I have made a mistake," he said, "as I returned from a certain place in
the dark, I found your bed empty, and mistook it for mine."

"Very likely," I answered; "I had to get up, too."

"Yes," remarked the prefect; "but how does it happen that you went to bed
without making any remark when, on your return, you found your bed
already tenanted? And how is it that, being in the dark, you did not
suppose that you were mistaken yourself?"

"I could not be mistaken, for I felt the pedestal of this crucifix of
mine, and I knew I was right; as to my companion here, I did not feel
him."

"It is all very unlikely," answered our Argus; and he went to the
lantern, the wick of which he found crushed down.

"The wick has been forced into the oil, gentlemen; it has not gone out of
itself; it has been the handiwork of one of you, but it will be seen to
in the morning."

My stupid companion went to his own bed, the prefect lighted the lamp and
retired to his rest, and after this scene, which had broken the repose of
every pupil, I quietly slept until the appearance of the rector, who, at
the dawn of day, came in great fury, escorted by his satellite, the
prefect.

The rector, after examining the localities and submitting to a lengthy
interrogatory first my accomplice, who very naturally was considered as
the most guilty, and then myself, whom nothing could convict of the
offence, ordered us to get up and go to church to attend mass. As soon as
we were dressed, he came back, and addressing us both, he said, kindly:

"You stand both convicted of a scandalous connivance, and it is proved by
the fact of the lantern having been wilfully extinguished. I am disposed
to believe that the cause of all this disorder is, if not entirely
innocent, at least due only to extreme thoughtlessness; but the scandal
given to all your comrades, the outrage offered to the discipline and to
the established rules of the seminary, call loudly for punishment. Leave
the room."

We obeyed; but hardly were we between the double doors of the dormitory
than we were seized by four servants, who tied our hands behind us, and
led us to the class room, where they compelled us to kneel down before
the great crucifix. The rector told them to execute his orders, and, as
we were in that position, the wretches administered to each of us seven
or eight blows with a stick, or with a rope, which I received, as well as
my companion, without a murmur. But the moment my hands were free, I
asked the rector whether I could write two lines at the very foot of the
cross. He gave orders to bring ink and paper, and I traced the following
words:

"I solemnly swear by this God that I have never spoken to the seminarist
who was found in my bed. As an innocent person I must protest against
this shameful violence. I shall appeal to the justice of his lordship the
patriarch."

My comrade in misery signed this protest with me; after which, addressing
myself to all the pupils, I read it aloud, calling upon them to speak the
truth if any one could say the contrary of what I had written. They, with
one voice, immediately declared that we had never been seen conversing
together, and that no one knew who had put the lamp out. The rector left
the room in the midst of hisses and curses, but he sent us to prison all
the same at the top of the house and in separate cells. An hour
afterwards, I had my bed, my trunk and all my things, and my meals were
brought to me every day. On the fourth day, the Abbe Tosello came for me
with instructions to bring me to Venice. I asked him whether he had
sifted this unpleasant affair; he told me that he had enquired into it,
that he had seen the other seminarist, and that he believed we were both
innocent; but the rector would not confess himself in the wrong, and he
did not see what could be done.

I threw off my seminarist's habit, and dressed myself in the clothes I
used to wear in Venice, and, while my luggage was carried to a boat, I
accompanied the abbe to M. Grimani's gondola in which he had come, and we
took our departure. On our way, the abbe ordered the boatman to leave my
things at the Palace Grimani, adding that he was instructed by M. Grimani
to tell me that, if I had the audacity to present myself at his mansion,
his servants had received orders to turn me away.

He landed me near the convent of the Jesuits, without any money, and with
nothing but what I had on my back.

I went to beg a dinner from Madame Manzoni, who laughed heartily at the
realization of her prediction. After dinner I called upon M. Rosa to see
whether the law could protect me against the tyranny of my enemies, and
after he had been made acquainted with the circumstances of the case, he
promised to bring me the same evening, at Madame Orio's house, an
extra-judicial act. I repaired to the place of appointment to wait for
him, and to enjoy the pleasure of my two charming friends at my sudden
reappearance. It was indeed very great, and the recital of my adventures
did not astonish them less than my unexpected presence. M. Rosa came and
made me read the act which he had prepared; he had not had time to have
it engrossed by the notary, but he undertook to have it ready the next
day.

I left Madame Orio to take supper with my brother Francois, who resided
with a painter called Guardi; he was, like me, much oppressed by the
tyranny of Grimani, and I promised to deliver him. Towards midnight I
returned to the two amiable sisters who were expecting me with their
usual loving impatience, but, I am bound to confess it with all humility,
my sorrows were prejudicial to love in spite of the fortnight of absence
and of abstinence. They were themselves deeply affected to see me so
unhappy, and pitied me with all their hearts. I endeavoured to console
them, and assured them that all my misery would soon come to an end, and
that we would make up for lost time.

In the morning, having no money, and not knowing where to go, I went to
St. Mark's Library, where I remained until noon. I left it with the
intention of dining with Madame Manzoni, but I was suddenly accosted by a
soldier who informed me that someone wanted to speak to me in a gondola
to which he pointed. I answered that the person might as well come out,
but he quietly remarked that he had a friend at hand to conduct me
forcibly to the gondola, if necessary, and without any more hesitation I
went towards it. I had a great dislike to noise or to anything like a
public exhibition. I might have resisted, for the soldiers were unarmed,
and I would not have been taken up, this sort of arrest not being legal
in Venice, but I did not think of it. The 'sequere deum' was playing its
part; I felt no reluctance. Besides, there are moments in which a
courageous man has no courage, or disdains to shew it.

I enter the gondola, the curtain is drawn aside, and I see my evil
genius, Razetta, with an officer. The two soldiers sit down at the prow;
I recognize M. Grimani's own gondola, it leaves the landing and takes the
direction of the Lido. No one spoke to me, and I remained silent. After
half-an-hour's sailing, the gondola stopped before the small entrance of
the Fortress St. Andre, at the mouth of the Adriatic, on the very spot
where the Bucentaur stands, when, on Ascension Day, the doge comes to
espouse the sea.

The sentinel calls the corporal; we alight, the officer who accompanied
me introduces me to the major, and presents a letter to him. The major,
after reading its contents, gives orders to M. Zen, his adjutant, to
consign me to the guard-house. In another quarter of an hour my
conductors take their departure, and M. Zen brings me three livres and a
half, stating that I would receive the same amount every week. It was
exactly the pay of a private.

I did not give way to any burst of passion, but I felt the most intense
indignation. Late in the evening I expressed a wish to have some food
bought, for I could not starve; then, stretching myself upon a hard camp
bed, I passed the night amongst the soldiers without closing my eyes, for
these Sclavonians were singing, eating garlic, smoking a bad tobacco
which was most noxious, and drinking a wine of their own country, as
black as ink, which nobody else could swallow.

Early next morning Major Pelodoro (the governor of the fortress) called
me up to his room, and told me that, in compelling me to spend the night
in the guard-house, he had only obeyed the orders he had received from
Venice from the secretary of war. "Now, reverend sir," he added, "my
further orders are only to keep you a prisoner in the fort, and I am
responsible for your remaining here. I give you the whole of the fortress
for your prison. You shall have a good room in which you will find your
bed and all your luggage. Walk anywhere you please; but recollect that,
if you should escape, you would cause my ruin. I am sorry that my
instructions are to give you only ten sous a day, but if you have any
friends in Venice able to send you some money, write to them, and trust
to me for the security of your letters. Now you may go to bed, if you
need rest."

I was taken to my room; it was large and on the first story, with two
windows from which I had a very fine view. I found my bed, and I
ascertained with great satisfaction that my trunk, of which I had the
keys, had not been forced open. The major had kindly supplied my table
with all the implements necessary for writing. A Sclavonian soldier
informed me very politely that he would attend upon me, and that I would
pay him for his services whenever I could, for everyone knew that I had
only ten sous a day. I began by ordering some soup, and, when I had
dispatched it, I went to bed and slept for nine hours. When I woke, I
received an invitation to supper from the major, and I began to imagine
that things, after all, would not be so very bad.

I went to the honest governor, whom I found in numerous company. He
presented me to his wife and to every person present. I met there several
officers, the chaplain of the fortress, a certain Paoli Vida, one of the
singers of St. Mark's Church, and his wife, a pretty woman, sister-in-law
of the major, whom the husband chose to confine in the fort because he
was very jealous (jealous men are not comfortable at Venice), together
with several other ladies, not very young, but whom I thought very
agreeable, owing to their kind welcome.

Cheerful as I was by nature, those pleasant guests easily managed to put
me in the best of humours. Everyone expressed a wish to know the reasons
which could have induced M. Grimani to send me to the fortress, so I gave
a faithful account of all my adventures since my grandmother's death. I
spoke for three hours without any bitterness, and even in a pleasant
tone, upon things which, said in a different manner, might have
displeased my audience; all expressed their satisfaction, and shewed so
much sympathy that, as we parted for the night, I received from all an
assurance of friendship and the offer of their services. This is a piece
of good fortune which has never failed me whenever I have been the victim
of oppression, until I reached the age of fifty. Whenever I met with
honest persons expressing a curiosity to know the history of the
misfortune under which I was labouring, and whenever I satisfied their
curiosity, I have inspired them with friendship, and with that sympathy
which was necessary to render them favourable and useful to me.

That success was owing to a very simple artifice; it was only to tell my
story in a quiet and truthful manner, without even avoiding the facts
which told against me. It is simple secret that many men do not know,
because the larger portion of humankind is composed of cowards; a man who
always tells the truth must be possessed of great moral courage.
Experience has taught me that truth is a talisman, the charm of which
never fails in its effect, provided it is not wasted upon unworthy
people, and I believe that a guilty man, who candidly speaks the truth to
his judge, has a better chance of being acquitted, than the innocent man
who hesitates and evades true statements. Of course the speaker must be
young, or at least in the prime of manhood; for an old man finds the
whole of nature combined against him.

The major had his joke respecting the visit paid and returned to the
seminarist's bed, but the chaplain and the ladies scolded him. The major
advised me to write out my story and send it to the secretary of war,
undertaking that he should receive it, and he assured me that he would
become my protector. All the ladies tried to induce me to follow the
major's advice.




CHAPTER VII

     My Short Stay in Fort St. Andre--My First Repentance in Love
     Affairs I Enjoy the Sweets of Revenge, and Prove a Clever
     Alibi--Arrest of Count Bonafede--My Release--Arrival of the
     Bishop--Farewell to Venice

The fort, in which the Republic usually kept only a garrison of one
hundred half-pay Sclavonians, happened to contain at that time two
thousand Albanian soldiers, who were called Cimariotes.

The secretary of war, who was generally known under the title of 'sage a
l'ecriture', had summoned these men from the East in consequence of some
impending promotion, as he wanted the officers to be on the spot in order
to prove their merits before being rewarded. They all came from the part
of Epirus called Albania, which belongs to the Republic of Venice, and
they had distinguished themselves in the last war against the Turks. It
was for me a new and extraordinary sight to examine some eighteen or
twenty officers, all of an advanced age, yet strong and healthy, shewing
the scars which covered their face and their chest, the last naked and
entirely exposed through military pride. The lieutenant-colonel was
particularly conspicuous by his wounds, for, without exaggeration, he had
lost one-fourth of his head. He had but one eye, but one ear, and no jaw
to speak of. Yet he could eat very well, speak without difficulty, and
was very cheerful. He had with him all his family, composed of two pretty
daughters, who looked all the prettier in their national costume, and of
seven sons, every one of them a soldier. This lieutenant-colonel stood
six feet high, and his figure was magnificent, but his scars so
completely deformed his features that his face was truly horrid to look
at. Yet I found so much attraction in him that I liked him the moment I
saw him, and I would have been much pleased to converse with him if his
breath had not sent forth such a strong smell of garlic. All the
Albanians had their pockets full of it, and they enjoyed a piece of
garlic with as much relish as we do a sugar-plum. After this none can
maintain it to be a poison, though the only medicinal virtue it possesses
is to excite the appetite, because it acts like a tonic upon a weak
stomach.

The lieutenant-colonel could not read, but he was not ashamed of his
ignorance, because not one amongst his men, except the priest and the
surgeon, could boast greater learning. Every man, officer or private, had
his purse full of gold; half of them, at least, were married, and we had
in the fortress a colony of five or six hundred women, with God knows how
many children! I felt greatly interested in them all. Happy idleness! I
often regret thee because thou hast often offered me new sights, and for
the same reason I hate old age which never offers but what I know
already, unless I should take up a gazette, but I cared nothing for them
in my young days.

Alone in my room I made an inventory of my trunk, and having put aside
everything of an ecclesiastical character, I sent for a Jew, and sold the
whole parcel unmercifully. Then I wrote to M. Rosa, enclosing all the
tickets of the articles I had pledged, requesting him to have them sold
without any exception, and to forward me the surplus raised by the sale.
Thanks to that double operation, I was enabled to give my Sclavonian
servant the ten sous allowed to me every day. Another soldier, who had
been a hair-dresser, took care of my hair which I had been compelled to
neglect, in consequence of the rules of the seminary. I spent my time in
walking about the fort and through the barracks, and my two places of
resort were the major's apartment for some intellectual enjoyment, and
the rooms of the Albanian lieutenant-colonel for a sprinkling of love.
The Albanian feeling certain that his colonel would be appointed
brigadier, solicited the command of the regiment, but he had a rival and
he feared his success. I wrote him a petition, short, but so well
composed that the secretary of war, having enquired the name of the
author, gave the Albanian his colonelcy. On his return to the fort, the
brave fellow, overjoyed at his success, hugged me in his arms, saying
that he owed it all to me; he invited me to a family dinner, in which my
very soul was parched by his garlic, and he presented me with twelve
botargoes and two pounds of excellent Turkish tobacco.

The result of my petition made all the other officers think that they
could not succeed without the assistance of my pen, and I willingly gave
it to everybody; this entailed many quarrels upon me, for I served all
interests, but, finding myself the lucky possessor of some forty sequins,
I was no longer in dread of poverty, and laughed at everything. However,
I met with an accident which made me pass six weeks in a very unpleasant
condition.

On the 2nd of April, the fatal anniversary of my first appearance in this
world, as I was getting up in the morning, I received in my room the
visit of a very handsome Greek woman, who told me that her husband, then
ensign in the regiment, had every right to claim the rank of lieutenant,
and that he would certainly be appointed, if it were not for the
opposition of his captain who was against him, because she had refused
him certain favours which she could bestow only upon her husband. She
handed me some certificates, and begged me to write a petition which she
would present herself to the secretary of war, adding that she could only
offer me her heart in payment. I answered that her heart ought not to go
alone; I acted as I had spoken, and I met with no other resistance than
the objection which a pretty woman is always sure to feign for the sake
of appearance. After that, I told her to come back at noon, and that the
petition would be ready. She was exact to the appointment, and very
kindly rewarded me a second time; and in the evening, under pretence of
some alterations to be made in the petition, she afforded an excellent
opportunity of reaping a third recompense.

But, alas! the path of pleasure is not strewn only with roses! On the
third day, I found out, much to my dismay, that a serpent had been hid
under the flowers. Six weeks of care and of rigid diet re-established my
health.

When I met the handsome Greek again, I was foolish enough to reproach her
for the present she had bestowed upon me, but she baffled me by laughing,
and saying that she had only offered me what she possessed, and that it
was my own fault if I had not been sufficiently careful. The reader
cannot imagine how much this first misfortune grieved me, and what deep
shame I felt. I looked upon myself as a dishonoured man, and while I am
on that subject I may as well relate an incident which will give some
idea of my thoughtlessness.

Madame Vida, the major's sister-in-law, being alone with me one morning,
confided in me in a moment of unreserved confidence what she had to
suffer from the jealous disposition of her husband, and his cruelty in
having allowed her to sleep alone for the last four years, when she was
in the very flower of her age.

"I trust to God," she added, "that my husband will not find out that you
have spent an hour alone with me, for I should never hear the end of it."

Feeling deeply for her grief, and confidence begetting confidence, I was
stupid enough to tell her the sad state to which I had been reduced by
the cruel Greek woman, assuring her that I felt my misery all the more
deeply, because I should have been delighted to console her, and to give
her the opportunity of a revenge for her jealous husband's coldness. At
this speech, in which my simplicity and good faith could easily be
traced, she rose from her chair, and upbraided me with every insult which
an outraged honest woman might hurl at the head of a bold libertine who
has presumed too far. Astounded, but understanding perfectly well the
nature of my crime, I bowed myself out of her room; but as I was leaving
it she told me in the same angry tone that my visits would not be welcome
for the future, as I was a conceited puppy, unworthy of the society of
good and respectable women. I took care to answer that a respectable
woman would have been rather more reserved than she had been in her
confidences. On reflection I felt pretty sure that, if I had been in good
health, or had said nothing about my mishap, she would have been but too
happy to receive my consolations.

A few days after that incident I had a much greater cause to regret my
acquaintance with the Greek woman. On Ascension Day, as the ceremony of
the Bucentaur was celebrated near the fort, M. Rosa brought Madame Orio
and her two nieces to witness it, and I had the pleasure of treating them
all to a good dinner in my room. I found myself, during the day, alone
with my young friends in one of the casements, and they both loaded me
with the most loving caresses and kisses. I felt that they expected some
substantial proof of my love; but, to conceal the real state, of things,
I pretended to be afraid of being surprised, and they had to be satisfied
with my shallow excuse.

I had informed my mother by letter of all I had suffered from Grimani's
treatment; she answered that she had written to him on the subject, that
she had no doubt he would immediately set me at liberty, and that an
arrangement had been entered into by which M. Grimani would devote the
money raised by Razetta from the sale of the furniture to the settlement
of a small patrimony on my youngest brother. But in this matter Grimani
did not act honestly, for the patrimony was only settled thirteen years
afterwards, and even then only in a fictitious manner. I shall have an
opportunity later on of mentioning this unfortunate brother, who died
very poor in Rome twenty years ago.

Towards the middle of June the Cimariotes were sent back to the East, and
after their departure the garrison of the fort was reduced to its usual
number. I began to feel weary in this comparative solitude, and I gave
way to terrible fits of passion.

The heat was intense, and so disagreeable to me that I wrote to M.
Grimani, asking for two summer suits of clothes, and telling him where
they would be found, if Razetta had not sold them. A week afterwards I
was in the major's apartment when I saw the wretch Razetta come in,
accompanied by a man whom he introduced as Petrillo, the celebrated
favourite of the Empress of Russia, just arrived from St. Petersburg. He
ought to have said infamous instead of celebrated, and clown instead of
favourite.

The major invited them to take a seat, and Razetta, receiving a parcel
from Grimani's gondolier, handed it to me, saying,

"I have brought you your rags; take them."

I answered:

"Some day I will bring you a 'rigano':"

At these words the scoundrel dared to raise his cane, but the indignant
major compelled him to lower his tone by asking him whether he had any
wish to pass the night in the guard-house. Petrillo, who had not yet
opened his lips, told me then that he was sorry not to have found me in
Venice, as I might have shewn him round certain places which must be well
known to me.

"Very likely we should have met your wife in such places," I answered.

"I am a good judge of faces," he said, "and I can see that you are a true
gallows-bird."

I was trembling with rage, and the major, who shared my utter disgust,
told them that he had business to transact, and they took their leave.
The major assured me that on the following day he would go to the war
office to complain of Razetta, and that he would have him punished for
his insolence.

I remained alone, a prey to feelings of the deepest indignation, and to a
most ardent thirst for revenge.

The fortress was entirely surrounded by water, and my windows were not
overlooked by any of the sentinels. A boat coming under my windows could
therefore easily take me to Venice during the night and bring me back to
the fortress before day-break. All that was necessary was to find a
boatman who, for a certain amount, would risk the galleys in case of
discovery. Amongst several who brought provisions to the fort, I chose a
boatman whose countenance pleased me, and I offered him one sequin; he
promised to let me know his decision on the following day. He was true to
his time, and declared himself ready to take me. He informed me that,
before deciding to serve me, he had wished to know whether I was kept in
the fort for any great crime, but as the wife of the major had told him
that my imprisonment had been caused by very trifling frolics, I could
rely upon him. We arranged that he should be under my window at the
beginning of the night, and that his boat should be provided with a mast
long enough to enable me to slide along it from the window to the boat.

The appointed hour came, and everything being ready I got safely into the
boat, landed at the Sclavonian quay, ordered the boatman to wait for me,
and wrapped up in a mariner's cloak I took my way straight to the gate of
Saint-Sauveur, and engaged the waiter of a coffee-room to take me to
Razetta's house.

Being quite certain that he would not be at home at that time, I rang the
bell, and I heard my sister's voice telling me that if I wanted to see
him I must call in the morning. Satisfied with this, I went to the foot
of the bridge and sat down, waiting there to see which way he would come,
and a few minutes before midnight I saw him advancing from the square of
Saint-Paul. It was all I wanted to know; I went back to my boat and
returned to the fort without any difficulty. At five o'clock in the
morning everyone in the garrison could see me enjoying my walk on the
platform.

Taking all the time necessary to mature my plans, I made the following
arrangements to secure my revenge with perfect safety, and to prove an
alibi in case I should kill my rascally enemy, as it was my intention to
do. The day preceding the night fixed for my expedition, I walked about
with the son of the Adjutant Zen, who was only twelve years old, but who
amused me much by his shrewdness. The reader will meet him again in the
year 1771. As I was walking with him, I jumped down from one of the
bastions, and feigned to sprain my ankle. Two soldiers carried me to my
room, and the surgeon of the fort, thinking that I was suffering from a
luxation, ordered me to keep to bed, and wrapped up the ankle in towels
saturated with camphorated spirits of wine. Everybody came to see me, and
I requested the soldier who served me to remain and to sleep in my room.
I knew that a glass of brandy was enough to stupefy the man, and to make
him sleep soundly. As soon as I saw him fast asleep, I begged the surgeon
and the chaplain, who had his room over mine, to leave me, and at
half-past ten I lowered myself in the boat.

As soon as I reached Venice, I bought a stout cudgel, and I sat myself
down on a door-step, at the corner of the street near Saint-Paul's
Square. A narrow canal at the end of the street, was, I thought, the very
place to throw my enemy in. That canal has now disappeared.

At a quarter before twelve I see Razetta, walking along leisurely. I come
out of the street with rapid strides, keeping near the wall to compel him
to make room for me, and I strike a first blow on the head, and a second
on his arm; the third blow sends him tumbling in the canal, howling and
screaming my name. At the same instant a Forlan, or citizen of Forli,
comes out of a house on my left side with a lantern in his hand. A blow
from my cudgel knocks the lantern out of his grasp, and the man,
frightened out of his wits, takes to his heels. I throw away my stick, I
run at full speed through the square and over the bridge, and while
people are hastening towards the spot where the disturbance had taken
place, I jump into the boat, and, thanks to a strong breeze swelling our
sail, I get back to the fortress. Twelve o'clock was striking as I
re-entered my room through the window. I quickly undress myself, and the
moment I am in my bed I wake up the soldier by my loud screams, telling
him to go for the surgeon, as I am dying of the colic.

The chaplain, roused by my screaming, comes down and finds me in
convulsions. In the hope that some diascordium would relieve me, the good
old man runs to his room and brings it, but while he has gone for some
water I hide the medicine. After half an hour of wry faces, I say that I
feel much better, and thanking all my friends, I beg them to retire,
which everyone does, wishing me a quiet sleep.

The next morning I could not get up in consequence of my sprained ankle,
although I had slept very well; the major was kind enough to call upon me
before going to Venice, and he said that very likely my colic had been
caused by the melon I had eaten for my dinner the day before.

The major returned at one o'clock in the afternoon. "I have good news to
give you," he said to me, with a joyful laugh. "Razetta was soundly
cudgelled last night and thrown into a canal."

"Has he been killed?"

"No; but I am glad of it for your sake, for his death would make your
position much more serious. You are accused of having done it."

"I am very glad people think me guilty; it is something of a revenge, but
it will be rather difficult to bring it home to me."

"Very difficult! All the same, Razetta swears he recognized you, and the
same declaration is made by the Forlan who says that you struck his hand
to make him drop his lantern. Razetta's nose is broken, three of his
teeth are gone, and his right arm is severely hurt. You have been accused
before the avogador, and M. Grimani has written to the war office to
complain of your release from the fortress without his knowledge. I
arrived at the office just in time. The secretary was reading Grimani's
letter, and I assured his excellency that it was a false report, for I
left you in bed this morning, suffering from a sprained ankle. I told him
likewise that at twelve o'clock last night you were very near death from
a severe attack of colic."

"Was it at midnight that Razetta was so well treated?"

"So says the official report. The war secretary wrote at once to M.
Grimani and informed him that you have not left the fort, and that you
are even now detained in it, and that the plaintiff is at liberty, if he
chooses, to send commissaries to ascertain the fact. Therefore, my dear
abbe, you must prepare yourself for an interrogatory."

"I expect it, and I will answer that I am very sorry to be innocent."

Three days afterwards, a commissary came to the fort with a clerk of the
court, and the proceedings were soon over. Everybody knew that I had
sprained my ankle; the chaplain, the surgeon, my body-servant, and
several others swore that at midnight I was in bed suffering from colic.
My alibi being thoroughly proved, the avogador sentenced Razetta and the
Forlan to pay all expenses without prejudice to my rights of action.

After this judgment, the major advised me to address to the secretary of
war a petition which he undertook to deliver himself, and to claim my
release from the fort. I gave notice of my proceedings to M. Grimani, and
a week afterwards the major told me that I was free, and that he would
himself take me to the abbe. It was at dinnertime, and in the middle of
some amusing conversation, that he imparted that piece of information.
Not supposing him to be in earnest, and in order to keep up the joke, I
told him very politely that I preferred his house to Venice, and that, to
prove it, I would be happy to remain a week longer, if he would grant me
permission to do so. I was taken at my word, and everybody seemed very
pleased. But when, two hours later, the news was confirmed, and I could
no longer doubt the truth of my release, I repented the week which I had
so foolishly thrown away as a present to the major; yet I had not the
courage to break my word, for everybody, and particularly his wife, had
shown such unaffected pleasure, it would have been contemptible of me to
change my mind. The good woman knew that I owed her every kindness which
I had enjoyed, and she might have thought me ungrateful.

But I met in the fort with a last adventure, which I must not forget to
relate.

On the following day, an officer dressed in the national uniform called
upon the major, accompanied by an elderly man of about sixty years of
age, wearing a sword, and, presenting to the major a dispatch with the
seal of the war office, he waited for an answer, and went away as soon as
he had received one from the governor.

After the officer had taken leave, the major, addressing himself to the
elderly gentleman, to whom he gave the title of count, told him that his
orders were to keep him a prisoner, and that he gave him the whole of the
fort for his prison. The count offered him his sword, but the major nobly
refused to take it, and escorted him to the room he was to occupy. Soon
after, a servant in livery brought a bed and a trunk, and the next
morning the same servant, knocking at my door, told me that his master
begged the honour of my company to breakfast. I accepted the invitation,
and he received me with these words:

"Dear sir, there has been so much talk in Venice about the skill with
which you proved your incredible alibi, that I could not help asking for
the honour of your acquaintance."

"But, count, the alibi being a true one, there can be no skill required
to prove it. Allow me to say that those who doubt its truth are paying me
a very poor compliment, for--"

"Never mind; do not let us talk any more of that, and forgive me. But as
we happen to be companions in misfortune, I trust you will not refuse me
your friendship. Now for breakfast."

After our meal, the count, who had heard from me some portion of my
history, thought that my confidence called for a return on his part, and
he began: "I am the Count de Bonafede. In my early days I served under
Prince Eugene, but I gave up the army, and entered on a civil career in
Austria. I had to fly from Austria and take refuge in Bavaria in
consequence of an unfortunate duel. In Munich I made the acquaintance of
a young lady belonging to a noble family; I eloped with her and brought
her to Venice, where we were married. I have now been twenty years in
Venice. I have six children, and everybody knows me. About a week ago I
sent my servant to the postoffice for my letters, but they were refused
him because he had not any money to pay the postage. I went myself, but
the clerk would not deliver me my letters, although I assured him that I
would pay for them the next time. This made me angry, and I called upon
the Baron de Taxis, the postmaster, and complained of the clerk, but he
answered very rudely that the clerk had simply obeyed his orders, and
that my letters would only be delivered on payment of the postage. I felt
very indignant, but as I was in his house I controlled my anger, went
home, and wrote a note to him asking him to give me satisfaction for his
rudeness, telling him that I would never go out without my sword, and
that I would force him to fight whenever and wherever I should meet him.
I never came across him, but yesterday I was accosted by the secretary of
the inquisitors, who told me that I must forget the baron's rude conduct,
and go under the guidance of an officer whom he pointed out to me, to
imprison myself for a week in this fortress. I shall thus have the
pleasure of spending that time with you."

I told him that I had been free for the last twenty-four hours, but that
to shew my gratitude for his friendly confidence I would feel honoured if
he would allow me to keep him company. As I had already engaged myself
with the major, this was only a polite falsehood.

In the afternoon I happened to be with him on the tower of the fort, and
pointed out a gondola advancing towards the lower gate; he took his
spy-glass and told me that it was his wife and daughter coming to see
him. We went to meet the ladies, one of whom might once have been worth
the trouble of an elopement; the other, a young person between fourteen
and sixteen, struck me as a beauty of a new style. Her hair was of a
beautiful light auburn, her eyes were blue and very fine, her nose a
Roman, and her pretty mouth, half-open and laughing, exposed a set of
teeth as white as her complexion, although a beautiful rosy tint somewhat
veiled the whiteness of the last. Her figure was so slight that it seemed
out of nature, but her perfectly-formed breast appeared an altar on which
the god of love would have delighted to breathe the sweetest incense.
This splendid chest was, however, not yet well furnished, but in my
imagination I gave her all the embonpoint which might have been desired,
and I was so pleased that I could not take my looks from her. I met her
eyes, and her laughing countenance seemed to say to me: "Only wait for
two years, at the utmost, and all that your imagination is now creating
will then exist in reality."

She was elegantly dressed in the prevalent fashion, with large hoops, and
like the daughters of the nobility who have not yet attained the age of
puberty, although the young countess was marriageable. I had never dared
to stare so openly at the bosom of a young lady of quality, but I thought
there was no harm in fixing my eyes on a spot where there was nothing yet
but in expectation.

The count, after having exchanged a few words in German with his wife,
presented me in the most flattering manner, and I was received with great
politeness. The major joined us, deeming it his duty to escort the
countess all over the fortress, and I improved the excellent opportunity
thrown in my way by the inferiority of my position; I offered my arm to
the young lady, and the count left us to go to his room.

I was still an adept in the old Venetian fashion of attending upon
ladies, and the young countess thought me rather awkward, though I
believed myself very fashionable when I placed my hand under her arm, but
she drew it back in high merriment. Her mother turned round to enquire
what she was laughing at, and I was terribly confused when I heard her
answer that I had tickled her.

"This is the way to offer your arm to a lady," she said, and she passed
her hand through my arm, which I rounded in the most clumsy manner,
feeling it a very difficult task to resume a dignified countenance.
Thinking me a novice of the most innocent species, she very likely
determined to make sport of me. She began by remarking that by rounding
my arm as I had done I placed it too far from her waist, and that I was
consequently out of drawing. I told her I did not know how to draw, and
inquired whether it was one of her accomplishments.

"I am learning," she answered, "and when you call upon us I will shew you
Adam and Eve, after the Chevalier Liberi; I have made a copy which has
been found very fine by some professors, although they did not know it
was my work."

"Why did you not tell them?"

"Because those two figures are too naked."

"I am not curious to see your Adam, but I will look at your Eve with
pleasure, and keep your secret."

This answer made her laugh again, and again her mother turned round. I
put on the look of a simpleton, for, seeing the advantage I could derive
from her opinion of me, I had formed my plan at the very moment she tried
to teach me how to offer my arm to a lady.

She was so convinced of my simplicity that she ventured to say that she
considered her Adam by far more beautiful than her Eve, because in her
drawing of the man she had omitted nothing, every muscle being visible,
while there was none conspicuous in Eve. "It is," she added, "a figure
with nothing in it."

"Yet it is the one which I shall like best."

"No; believe me, Adam will please you most."

This conversation had greatly excited me. I had on a pair of linen
breeches, the weather being very warm.... I was afraid of the major and
the countess, who were a few yards in front of us, turning round .... I
was on thorns. To make matters worse, the young lady stumbled, one of her
shoes slipped off, and presenting me her pretty foot she asked me to put
the shoe right. I knelt on the ground, and, very likely without thinking,
she lifted up her skirt.... she had very wide hoops and no petticoat....
what I saw was enough to strike me dead on the spot.... When I rose, she
asked if anything was the matter with me.

A moment after, coming out of one of the casemates, her head-dress got
slightly out of order, and she begged that I would remedy the accident,
but, having to bend her head down, the state in which I was could no
longer remain a secret for her. In order to avoid greater confusion to
both of us, she enquired who had made my watch ribbon; I told her it was
a present from my sister, and she desired to examine it, but when I
answered her that it was fastened to the fob-pocket, and found that she
disbelieved me, I added that she could see for herself. She put her hand
to it, and a natural but involuntary excitement caused me to be very
indiscreet. She must have felt vexed, for she saw that she had made a
mistake in her estimate of my character; she became more timid, she would
not laugh any more, and we joined her mother and the major who was
shewing her, in a sentry-box, the body of Marshal de Schulenburg which
had been deposited there until the mausoleum erected for him was
completed. As for myself, I felt deeply ashamed. I thought myself the
first man who had alarmed her innocence, and I felt ready to do anything
to atone for the insult.

Such was my delicacy of feeling in those days. I used to credit people
with exalted sentiments, which often existed only in my imagination. I
must confess that time has entirely destroyed that delicacy; yet I do not
believe myself worse than other men, my equals in age and inexperience.

We returned to the count's apartment, and the day passed off rather
gloomily. Towards evening the ladies went away, but the countess gave me
a pressing invitation to call upon them in Venice.

The young lady, whom I thought I had insulted, had made such a deep
impression upon me that the seven following days seemed very long; yet I
was impatient to see her again only that I might entreat her forgiveness,
and convince her of my repentance.

The following day the count was visited by his son; he was
plain-featured, but a thorough gentleman, and modest withal. Twenty-five
years afterwards I met him in Spain, a cadet in the king's body-guard. He
had served as a private twenty years before obtaining this poor
promotion. The reader will hear of him in good time; I will only mention
here that when I met him in Spain, he stood me out that I had never known
him; his self-love prompted this very contemptible lie.

Early on the eighth day the count left the fortress, and I took my
departure the same evening, having made an appointment at a coffee-house
in St. Mark's Square with the major who was to accompany me to M.
Grimani's house. I took leave of his wife, whose memory will always be
dear to me, and she said, "I thank you for your skill in proving your
alibi, but you have also to thank me for having understood you so well.
My husband never heard anything about it until it was all over."

As soon as I reached Venice, I went to pay a visit to Madame Orio, where
I was made welcome. I remained to supper, and my two charming sweethearts
who were praying for the death of the bishop, gave me the most delightful
hospitality for the night.

At noon the next day I met the major according to our appointment, and we
called upon the Abbe Grimani. He received me with the air of a guilty man
begging for mercy, and I was astounded at his stupidity when he entreated
me to forgive Razetta and his companion. He told me that the bishop was
expected very soon, and that he had ordered a room to be ready for me,
and that I could take my meals with him. Then he introduced me to M.
Valavero, a man of talent, who had just left the ministry of war, his
term of office having lasted the usual six months. I paid my duty to him,
and we kept up a kind of desultory conversation until the departure of
the major. When he had left us M. Valavero entreated me to confess that I
had been the guilty party in the attack upon Razetta. I candidly told him
that the thrashing had been my handiwork, and I gave him all the
particulars, which amused him immensely. He remarked that, as I had
perpetrated the affair before midnight, the fools had made a mistake in
their accusation; but that, after all, the mistake had not materially
helped me in proving the alibi, because my sprained ankle, which
everybody had supposed a real accident, would of itself have been
sufficient.

But I trust that my kind reader has not forgotten that I had a very heavy
weight upon my conscience, of which I longed to get rid. I had to see the
goddess of my fancy, to obtain my pardon, or die at her feet.

I found the house without difficulty; the count was not at home. The
countess received me very kindly, but her appearance caused me so great a
surprise that I did not know what to say to her. I had fancied that I was
going to visit an angel, that I would find her in a lovely paradise, and
I found myself in a large sitting-room furnished with four rickety chairs
and a dirty old table. There was hardly any light in the room because the
shutters were nearly closed. It might have been a precaution against the
heat, but I judged that it was more probably for the purpose of
concealing the windows, the glass of which was all broken. But this
visible darkness did not prevent me from remarking that the countess was
wrapped up in an old tattered gown, and that her chemise did not shine by
its cleanliness. Seeing that I was ill at ease, she left the room, saying
that she would send her daughter, who, a few minutes afterwards, came in
with an easy and noble appearance, and told me that she had expected me
with great impatience, but that I had surprised her at a time at which
she was not in the habit of receiving any visits.

I did not know what to answer, for she did not seem to me to be the same
person. Her miserable dishabille made her look almost ugly, and I
wondered at the impression she had produced upon me at the fortress. She
saw my surprise, and partly guessed my thoughts, for she put on a look,
not of vexation, but of sorrow which called forth all my pity. If she had
been a philosopher she might have rightly despised me as a man whose
sympathy was enlisted only by her fine dress, her nobility, or her
apparent wealth; but she endeavoured to bring me round by her sincerity.
She felt that if she could call a little sentiment into play, it would
certainly plead in her favour.

"I see that you are astonished, reverend sir, and I know the reason of
your surprise. You expected to see great splendour here, and you find
only misery. The government allows my father but a small salary, and
there are nine of us. As we must attend church on Sundays and holidays in
a style proper to our condition, we are often compelled to go without our
dinner, in order to get out of pledge the clothes which urgent need too
often obliges us to part with, and which we pledge anew on the following
day. If we did not attend mass, the curate would strike our names off the
list of those who share the alms of the Confraternity of the Poor, and
those alms alone keep us afloat."

What a sad tale! She had guessed rightly. I was touched, but rather with
shame than true emotion. I was not rich myself, and, as I was no longer
in love, I only heaved a deep sigh, and remained as cold as ice.
Nevertheless, her position was painful, and I answered politely, speaking
with kindness and assuring her of my sympathy. "Were I wealthy," I said,
"I would soon shew you that your tale of woe has not fallen on unfeeling
ears; but I am poor, and, being at the eve of my departure from Venice,
even my friendship would be useless to you." Then, after some desultory
talk, I expressed a hope that her beauty would yet win happiness for her.
She seemed to consider for a few minutes, and said, "That may happen some
day, provided that the man who feels the power of my charms understands
that they can be bestowed only with my heart, and is willing to render me
the justice I deserve; I am only looking for a lawful marriage, without
dreaming of rank or fortune; I no longer believe in the first, and I know
how to live without the second; for I have been accustomed to poverty,
and even to abject need; but you cannot realize that. Come and see my
drawings."

"You are very good, mademoiselle."

Alas! I was not thinking of her drawings, and I could no longer feel
interested in her Eve, but I followed her.

We came to a chamber in which I saw a table, a chair, a small
toilet-glass and a bed with the straw palliasse turned over, very likely
for the purpose of allowing the looker-on to suppose that there were
sheets underneath, but I was particularly disgusted by a certain smell,
the cause of which was recent; I was thunderstruck, and if I had been
still in love, this antidote would have been sufficiently powerful to
cure me instanter. I wished for nothing but to make my escape, never to
return, and I regretted that I could not throw on the table a handful of
ducats, which I should have considered the price of my ransom.

The poor girl shewed me her drawings; they were fine, and I praised
them, without alluding particularly to Eve, and without venturing a joke
upon Adam. I asked her, for the sake of saying something, why she did not
try to render her talent remunerative by learning pastel drawing.

"I wish I could," she answered, "but the box of chalks alone costs two
sequins."

"Will you forgive me if I am bold enough to offer you six?"

"Alas! I accept them gratefully, and to be indebted to you for such a
service makes me truly happy."

Unable to keep back her tears, she turned her head round to conceal them
from me, and I took that opportunity of laying the money on the table,
and out of politeness, wishing to spare her every unnecessary
humiliation, I saluted her lips with a kiss which she was at liberty to
consider a loving one, as I wanted her to ascribe my reserve to the
respect I felt for her. I then left her with a promise to call another
day to see her father. I never kept my promise. The reader will see how I
met her again after ten years.

How many thoughts crowded upon my mind as I left that house! What a
lesson! I compared reality with the imagination, and I had to give the
preference to the last, as reality is always dependent on it. I then
began to forsee a truth which has been clearly proved to me in my after
life, namely, that love is only a feeling of curiosity more or less
intense, grafted upon the inclination placed in us by nature that the
species may be preserved. And truly, woman is like a book, which, good or
bad, must at first please us by the frontispiece. If this is not
interesting, we do not feel any wish to read the book, and our wish is in
direct proportion to the interest we feel. The frontispiece of woman runs
from top to bottom like that of a book, and her feet, which are most
important to every man who shares my taste, offer the same interest as
the edition of the work. If it is true that most amateurs bestow little
or no attention upon the feet of a woman, it is likewise a fact that most
readers care little or nothing whether a book is of the first edition or
the tenth. At all events, women are quite right to take the greatest care
of their face, of their dress, of their general appearance; for it is
only by that part of the frontispiece that they can call forth a wish to
read them in those men who have not been endowed by nature with the
privilege of blindness. And just in the same manner that men, who have
read a great many books, are certain to feel at last a desire for
perusing new works even if they are bad, a man who has known many women,
and all handsome women, feels at last a curiosity for ugly specimens when
he meets with entirely new ones. It is all very well for his eye to
discover the paint which conceals the reality, but his passion has become
a vice, and suggests some argument in favour of the lying frontispiece.
It is possible, at least he thinks so, that the work may prove better
than the title-page, and the reality more acceptable than the paint which
hides it. He then tries to peruse the book, but the leaves have not been
opened; he meets with some resistance, the living book must be read
according to established rules, and the book-worm falls a victim to a
coquetry, the monster which persecutes all those who make a business of
love. As for thee, intelligent man, who hast read the few preceding
lines, let me tell thee that, if they do not assist in opening thy eyes,
thou art lost; I mean that thou art certain of being a victim to the fair
sex to the very last moment of thy life. If my candour does not displease
thee, accept my congratulations. In the evening I called upon Madame
Orio, as I wanted to inform her charming nieces that, being an inmate of
Grimani's house, I could not sleep out for the first night. I found there
the faithful Rosa, who told me that the affair of the alibi was in every
mouth, and that, as such celebrity was evidently caused by a very decided
belief in the untruth of the alibi itself, I ought to fear a retaliation
of the same sort on the part of Razetta, and to keep on my guard,
particularly at night. I felt all the importance of this advice, and I
took care never to go out in the evening otherwise than in a gondola, or
accompanied by some friends. Madame Manzoni told me that I was acting
wisely, because, although the judges could not do otherwise than acquit
me, everybody knew the real truth of the matter, and Razetta could not
fail to be my deadly foe.

Three or four days afterwards M. Grimani announced the arrival of the
bishop, who had put up at the convent of his order, at Saint-Francois de
Paul. He presented me himself to the prelate as a jewel highly prized by
himself, and as if he had been the only person worthy of descanting upon
its beauty.

I saw a fine monk wearing his pectoral cross. He would have reminded me
of Father Mancia if he had not looked stouter and less reserved. He was
about thirty-four, and had been made a bishop by the grace of God, the
Holy See, and my mother. After pronouncing over me a blessing, which I
received kneeling, and giving me his hand to kiss, he embraced me warmly,
calling me his dear son in the Latin language, in which he continued to
address me. I thought that, being a Calabrian, he might feel ashamed of
his Italian, but he undeceived me by speaking in that language to M.
Grimani. He told me that, as he could not take me with him from Venice, I
should have to proceed to Rome, where Grimani would take care to send me,
and that I would procure his address at Ancona from one of his friends,
called Lazari, a Minim monk, who would likewise supply me with the means
of continuing my journey.

"When we meet in Rome," he added, "we can go together to Martorano by way
of Naples. Call upon me to-morrow morning, and have your breakfast with
me. I intend to leave the day after."

As we were on our way back to his house, M. Grimani treated me to a long
lecture on morals, which nearly caused me to burst into loud laughter.
Amongst other things, he informed me that I ought not to study too hard,
because the air in Calabria was very heavy, and I might become
consumptive from too close application to my books.

The next morning at day-break I went to the bishop. After saying his
mass, we took some chocolate, and for three hours he laid me under
examination. I saw clearly that he was not pleased with me, but I was
well enough pleased with him. He seemed to me a worthy man, and as he was
to lead me along the great highway of the Church, I felt attracted
towards him, for, at the time, although I entertained a good opinion of
my personal appearance, I had no confidence whatever in my talents.

After the departure of the good bishop, M. Grimani gave me a letter left
by him, which I was to deliver to Father Lazari, at the Convent of the
Minims, in Ancona. M. Grimani informed me that he would send me to that
city with the ambassador from Venice, who was on the point of sailing. I
had therefore to keep myself in readiness, and, as I was anxious to be
out of his hands, I approved all his arrangements. As soon as I had
notice of the day on which the suite of the ambassador would embark, I
went to pay my last farewell to all my acquaintances. I left my brother
Francois in the school of M. Joli, a celebrated decorative painter. As
the peotta in which I was to sail would not leave before daybreak, I
spent the short night in the arms of the two sisters, who, this time,
entertained no hope of ever seeing me again. On my side I could not
forsee what would happen, for I was abandoning myself to fate, and I
thought it would be useless to think of the future. The night was
therefore spent between joy and sadness, between pleasures and tears. As
I bade them adieu, I returned the key which had opened so often for me
the road to happiness.

This, my first love affair, did not give me any experience of the world,
for our intercourse was always a happy one, and was never disturbed by
any quarrel or stained by any interested motive. We often felt, all three
of us, as if we must raise our souls towards the eternal Providence of
God, to thank Him for having, by His particular protection, kept from us
all the accidents which might have disturbed the sweet peace we were
enjoying.

I left in the hands of Madame Manzoni all my papers, and all the
forbidden books I possessed. The good woman, who was twenty years older
than I, and who, believing in an immutable destiny, took pleasure in
turning the leaves of the great book of fate, told me that she was
certain of restoring to me all I left with her, before the end of the
following year, at the latest. Her prediction caused me both surprise and
pleasure, and feeling deep reverence for her, I thought myself bound to
assist the realization of her foresight. After all, if she predicted the
future, it was not through superstition, or in consequence of some vain
foreboding which reason must condemn, but through her knowledge of the
world, and of the nature of the person she was addressing. She used to
laugh because she never made a mistake.

I embarked from St: Mark's landing. M. Grimani had given me ten sequins,
which he thought would keep me during my stay in the lazzaretto of Ancona
for the necessary quarantine, after which it was not to be supposed that
I could want any money. I shared Grimani's certainty on the subject, and
with my natural thoughtlessness I cared nothing about it. Yet I must say
that, unknown to everybody, I had in my purse forty bright sequins, which
powerfully contributed to increase my cheerfulness, and I left Venice
full of joy and without one regret.





EPISODE 2 -- CLERIC IN NAPLES




CHAPTER VIII

     My Misfortunes in Chiozza--Father Stephano--The Lazzaretto
     at Ancona--The Greek Slave--My Pilgrimage to Our Lady of
     Loretto--I Go to Rome on Foot, and From Rome to Naples to
     Meet the Bishop--I Cannot Join Him--Good Luck Offers Me the
     Means of Reaching Martorano, Which Place I Very Quickly
     Leave to Return to Naples

[Illustration: 1c08.jpg]

The retinue of the ambassador, which was styled "grand," appeared to me
very small. It was composed of a Milanese steward, named Carcinelli, of a
priest who fulfilled the duties of secretary because he could not write,
of an old woman acting as housekeeper, of a man cook with his ugly wife,
and eight or ten servants.

We reached Chiozza about noon. Immediately after landing, I politely
asked the steward where I should put up, and his answer was:

"Wherever you please, provided you let this man know where it is, so that
he can give you notice when the peotta is ready to sail. My duty," he
added, "is to leave you at the lazzaretto of Ancona free of expense from
the moment we leave this place. Until then enjoy yourself as well as you
can."

The man to whom I was to give my address was the captain of the peotta. I
asked him to recommend me a lodging.

"You can come to my house," he said, "if you have no objection to share a
large bed with the cook, whose wife remains on board."

Unable to devise any better plan, I accepted the offer, and a sailor,
carrying my trunk, accompanied me to the dwelling of the honest captain.
My trunk had to be placed under the bed which filled up the room. I was
amused at this, for I was not in a position to be over-fastidious, and,
after partaking of some dinner at the inn, I went about the town. Chiozza
is a peninsula, a sea-port belonging to Venice, with a population of ten
thousand inhabitants, seamen, fishermen, merchants, lawyers, and
government clerks.

I entered a coffee-room, and I had scarcely taken a seat when a young
doctor-at-law, with whom I had studied in Padua, came up to me, and
introduced me to a druggist whose shop was near by, saying that his house
was the rendezvous of all the literary men of the place. A few minutes
afterwards, a tall Jacobin friar, blind of one eye, called Corsini, whom
I had known in Venice, came in and paid me many compliments. He told me
that I had arrived just in time to go to a picnic got up by the Macaronic
academicians for the next day, after a sitting of the academy in which
every member was to recite something of his composition. He invited me to
join them, and to gratify the meeting with the delivery of one of my
productions. I accepted the invitation, and, after the reading of ten
stanzas which I had written for the occasion, I was unanimously elected a
member. My success at the picnic was still greater, for I disposed of
such a quantity of macaroni that I was found worthy of the title of
prince of the academy.

The young doctor, himself one of the academicians, introduced me to his
family. His parents, who were in easy circumstances, received me very
kindly. One of his sisters was very amiable, but the other, a professed
nun, appeared to me a prodigy of beauty. I might have enjoyed myself in a
very agreeable way in the midst of that charming family during my stay in
Chiozza, but I suppose that it was my destiny to meet in that place with
nothing but sorrows. The young doctor forewarned me that the monk Corsini
was a very worthless fellow, despised by everybody, and advised me to
avoid him. I thanked him for the information, but my thoughtlessness
prevented me from profiting by it. Of a very easy disposition, and too
giddy to fear any snares, I was foolish enough to believe that the monk
would, on the contrary, be the very man to throw plenty of amusement in
my way.

On the third day the worthless dog took me to a house of ill-fame, where
I might have gone without his introduction, and, in order to shew my
mettle, I obliged a low creature whose ugliness ought to have been a
sufficient antidote against any fleshly desire. On leaving the place, he
brought me for supper to an inn where we met four scoundrels of his own
stamp. After supper one of them began a bank of faro, and I was invited
to join in the game. I gave way to that feeling of false pride which so
often causes the ruin of young men, and after losing four sequins I
expressed a wish to retire, but my honest friend, the Jacobin contrived
to make me risk four more sequins in partnership with him. He held the
bank, and it was broken. I did not wish to play any more, but Corsini,
feigning to pity me and to feel great sorrow at being the cause of my
loss, induced me to try myself a bank of twenty-five sequins; my bank was
likewise broken. The hope of winning back my money made me keep up the
game, and I lost everything I had.

Deeply grieved, I went away and laid myself down near the cook, who woke
up and said I was a libertine.

"You are right," was all I could answer.

I was worn out with fatigue and sorrow, and I slept soundly. My vile
tormentor, the monk, woke me at noon, and informed me with a triumphant
joy that a very rich young man had been invited by his friends to supper,
that he would be sure to play and to lose, and that it would be a good
opportunity for me to retrieve my losses.

"I have lost all my money. Lend me twenty sequins."

"When I lend money I am sure to lose; you may call it superstition, but I
have tried it too often. Try to find money somewhere else, and come.
Farewell."

I felt ashamed to confess my position to my friend, and sending for, a
money-lender I emptied my trunk before him. We made an inventory of my
clothes, and the honest broker gave me thirty sequins, with the
understanding that if I did not redeem them within three days all my
things would become his property. I am bound to call him an honest man,
for he advised me to keep three shirts, a few pairs of stockings, and a
few handkerchiefs; I was disposed to let him take everything, having a
presentiment that I would win back all I had lost; a very common error. A
few years later I took my revenge by writing a diatribe against
presentiments. I am of opinion that the only foreboding in which man can
have any sort of faith is the one which forbodes evil, because it comes
from the mind, while a presentiment of happiness has its origin in the
heart, and the heart is a fool worthy of reckoning foolishly upon fickle
fortune.

I did not lose any time in joining the honest company, which was alarmed
at the thought of not seeing me. Supper went off without any allusion to
gambling, but my admirable qualities were highly praised, and it was
decided that a brilliant fortune awaited me in Rome. After supper there
was no talk of play, but giving way to my evil genius I loudly asked for
my revenge. I was told that if I would take the bank everyone would punt.
I took the bank, lost every sequin I had, and retired, begging the monk
to pay what I owed to the landlord, which he promised to do.

I was in despair, and to crown my misery I found out as I was going home
that I had met the day before with another living specimen of the Greek
woman, less beautiful but as perfidious. I went to bed stunned by my
grief, and I believe that I must have fainted into a heavy sleep, which
lasted eleven hours; my awaking was that of a miserable being, hating the
light of heaven, of which he felt himself unworthy, and I closed my eyes
again, trying to sleep for a little while longer. I dreaded to rouse
myself up entirely, knowing that I would then have to take some decision;
but I never once thought of returning to Venice, which would have been
the very best thing to do, and I would have destroyed myself rather than
confide my sad position to the young doctor. I was weary of my existence,
and I entertained vaguely some hope of starving where I was, without
leaving my bed. It is certain that I should not have got up if M. Alban,
the master of the peotta, had not roused me by calling upon me and
informing me that the boat was ready to sail.

The man who is delivered from great perplexity, no matter by what means,
feels himself relieved. It seemed to me that Captain Alban had come to
point out the only thing I could possibly do; I dressed myself in haste,
and tying all my worldly possessions in a handkerchief I went on board.
Soon afterwards we left the shore, and in the morning we cast anchor in
Orsara, a seaport of Istria. We all landed to visit the city, which would
more properly be called a village. It belongs to the Pope, the Republic
of Venice having abandoned it to the Holy See.

A young monk of the order of the Recollects who called himself Friar
Stephano of Belun, and had obtained a free passage from the devout
Captain Alban, joined me as we landed and enquired whether I felt sick.

"Reverend father, I am unhappy."

"You will forget all your sorrow, if you will come and dine with me at
the house of one of our devout friends."

I had not broken my fast for thirty-six hours, and having suffered much
from sea-sickness during the night, my stomach was quite empty. My erotic
inconvenience made me very uncomfortable, my mind felt deeply the
consciousness of my degradation, and I did not possess a groat! I was in
such a miserable state that I had no strength to accept or to refuse
anything. I was thoroughly torpid, and I followed the monk mechanically.

He presented me to a lady, saying that he was accompanying me to Rome,
where I intend to become a Franciscan. This untruth disgusted me, and
under any other circumstances I would not have let it pass without
protest, but in my actual position it struck me as rather comical. The
good lady gave us a good dinner of fish cooked in oil, which in Orsara is
delicious, and we drank some exquisite refosco. During our meal, a priest
happened to drop in, and, after a short conversation, he told me that I
ought not to pass the night on board the tartan, and pressed me to accept
a bed in his house and a good dinner for the next day in case the wind
should not allow us to sail; I accepted without hesitation. I offered my
most sincere thanks to the good old lady, and the priest took me all over
the town. In the evening, he brought me to his house where we partook of
an excellent supper prepared by his housekeeper, who sat down to the
table with us, and with whom I was much pleased. The refosco, still
better than that which I had drunk at dinner, scattered all my misery to
the wind, and I conversed gaily with the priest. He offered to read to me
a poem of his own composition, but, feeling that my eyes would not keep
open, I begged he would excuse me and postpone the reading until the
following day.

I went to bed, and in the morning, after ten hours of the most profound
sleep, the housekeeper, who had been watching for my awakening, brought
me some coffee. I thought her a charming woman, but, alas! I was not in a
fit state to prove to her the high estimation in which I held her beauty.

Entertaining feelings of gratitude for my kind host, and disposed to
listen attentively to his poem, I dismissed all sadness, and I paid his
poetry such compliments that he was delighted, and, finding me much more
talented than he had judged me to be at first, he insisted upon treating
me to a reading of his idylls, and I had to swallow them, bearing the
infliction cheerfully. The day passed off very agreeably; the housekeeper
surrounded me with the kindest attentions--a proof that she was smitten
with me; and, giving way to that pleasing idea, I felt that, by a very
natural system of reciprocity, she had made my conquest. The good priest
thought that the day had passed like lightning, thanks to all the
beauties I had discovered in his poetry, which, to speak the truth, was
below mediocrity, but time seemed to me to drag along very slowly,
because the friendly glances of the housekeeper made me long for bedtime,
in spite of the miserable condition in which I felt myself morally and
physically. But such was my nature; I abandoned myself to joy and
happiness, when, had I been more reasonable, I ought to have sunk under
my grief and sadness.

But the golden time came at last. I found the pretty housekeeper full of
compliance, but only up to a certain point, and as she offered some
resistance when I shewed myself disposed to pay a full homage to her
charms, I quietly gave up the undertaking, very well pleased for both of
us that it had not been carried any further, and I sought my couch in
peace. But I had not seen the end of the adventure, for the next morning,
when she brought my coffee, her pretty, enticing manners allured me to
bestow a few loving caresses upon her, and if she did not abandon herself
entirely, it was only, as she said, because she was afraid of some
surprise. The day passed off very pleasantly with the good priest, and at
night, the house-keeper no longer fearing detection, and I having on my
side taken every precaution necessary in the state in which I was, we
passed two most delicious hours. I left Orsara the next morning.

Friar Stephano amused me all day with his talk, which plainly showed me
his ignorance combined with knavery under the veil of simplicity. He made
me look at the alms he had received in Orsara--bread, wine, cheese,
sausages, preserves, and chocolate; every nook and cranny of his holy
garment was full of provisions.

"Have you received money likewise?" I enquired.

"God forbid! In the first place, our glorious order does not permit me to
touch money, and, in the second place, were I to be foolish enough to
receive any when I am begging, people would think themselves quit of me
with one or two sous, whilst they dive me ten times as much in eatables.
Believe me Saint-Francis, was a very judicious man."

I bethought myself that what this monk called wealth would be poverty to
me. He offered to share with me, and seemed very proud at my consenting
to honour him so far.

The tartan touched at the harbour of Pola, called Veruda, and we landed.
After a walk up hill of nearly a quarter of an hour, we entered the city,
and I devoted a couple of hours to visiting the Roman antiquities, which
are numerous, the town having been the metropolis of the empire. Yet I
saw no other trace of grand buildings except the ruins of the arena. We
returned to Veruda, and went again to sea. On the following day we
sighted Ancona, but the wind being against us we were compelled to tack
about, and we did not reach the port till the second day. The harbour of
Ancona, although considered one of the great works of Trajan, would be
very unsafe if it were not for a causeway which has cost a great deal of
money, and which makes it some what better. I observed a fact worthy of
notice, namely, that, in the Adriatic, the northern coast has many
harbours, while the opposite coast can only boast of one or two. It is
evident that the sea is retiring by degrees towards the east, and that in
three or four more centuries Venice must be joined to the land. We landed
at the old lazzaretto, where we received the pleasant information that we
would go through a quarantine of twenty-eight days, because Venice had
admitted, after a quarantine of three months, the crew of two ships from
Messina, where the plague had recently been raging. I requested a room
for myself and for Brother Stephano, who thanked me very heartily. I
hired from a Jew a bed, a table and a few chairs, promising to pay for
the hire at the expiration of our quarantine. The monk would have nothing
but straw. If he had guessed that without him I might have starved, he
would most likely not have felt so much vanity at sharing my room. A
sailor, expecting to find in me a generous customer, came to enquire
where my trunk was, and, hearing from me that I did not know, he, as well
as Captain Alban, went to a great deal of trouble to find it, and I could
hardly keep down my merriment when the captain called, begging to be
excused for having left it behind, and assuring me that he would take
care to forward it to me in less than three weeks.

The friar, who had to remain with me four weeks, expected to live at my
expense, while, on the contrary, he had been sent by Providence to keep
me. He had provisions enough for one week, but it was necessary to think
of the future.

After supper, I drew a most affecting picture of my position, shewing
that I should be in need of everything until my arrival at Rome, where I
was going, I said, to fill the post of secretary of memorials, and my
astonishment may be imagined when I saw the blockhead delighted at the
recital of my misfortunes.

"I undertake to take care of you until we reach Rome; only tell me
whether you can write."

"What a question! Are you joking?"

"Why should I? Look at me; I cannot write anything but my name. True, I
can write it with either hand; and what else do I want to know?"

"You astonish me greatly, for I thought you were a priest."

"I am a monk; I say the mass, and, as a matter of course, I must know how
to read. Saint-Francis, whose unworthy son I am, could not read, an that
is the reason why he never said a mass. But as you can write, you will
to-morrow pen a letter in my name to the persons whose names I will give
you, and I warrant you we shall have enough sent here to live like
fighting cocks all through our quarantine."

The next day he made me write eight letters, because, in the oral
tradition of his order, it is said that, when a monk has knocked at seven
doors and has met with a refusal at every one of them, he must apply to
the eighth with perfect confidence, because there he is certain of
receiving alms. As he had already performed the pilgrimage to Rome, he
knew every person in Ancona devoted to the cult of Saint-Francis, and was
acquainted with the superiors of all the rich convents. I had to write to
every person he named, and to set down all the lies he dictated to me. He
likewise made me sign the letters for him, saying, that, if he signed
himself, his correspondents would see that the letters had not been
written by him, which would injure him, for, he added, in this age of
corruption, people will esteem only learned men. He compelled me to fill
the letters with Latin passages and quotations, even those addressed to
ladies, and I remonstrated in vain, for, when I raised any objection, he
threatened to leave me without anything to eat. I made up my mind to do
exactly as he wished. He desired me to write to the superior of the
Jesuits that he would not apply to the Capuchins, because they were no
better than atheists, and that that was the reason of the great dislike
of Saint-Francis for them. It was in vain that I reminded him of the fact
that, in the time of Saint-Francis, there were neither Capuchins nor
Recollets. His answer was that I had proved myself an ignoramus. I firmly
believed that he would be thought a madman, and that we should not
receive anything, but I was mistaken, for such a quantity of provisions
came pouring in that I was amazed. Wine was sent from three or four
different quarters, more than enough for us during all our stay, and yet
I drank nothing but water, so great was my wish to recover my health. As
for eatables, enough was sent in every day for six persons; we gave all
our surplus to our keeper, who had a large family. But the monk felt no
gratitude for the kind souls who bestowed their charity upon him; all his
thanks were reserved for Saint-Francis.

He undertook to have my men washed by the keeper; I would not have dared
to give it myself, and he said that he had nothing to fear, as everybody
was well aware that the monks of his order never wear any kind of linen.

I kept myself in bed nearly all day, and thus avoided shewing myself to
visitors. The persons who did not come wrote letters full of
incongruities cleverly worded, which I took good care not to point out to
him. It was with great difficulty that I tried to persuade him that those
letters did not require any answer.

A fortnight of repose and severe diet brought me round towards complete
recovery, and I began to walk in the yard of the lazzaretto from morning
till night; but the arrival of a Turk from Thessalonia with his family
compelled me to suspend my walks, the ground-floor having been given to
him. The only pleasure left me was to spend my time on the balcony
overlooking the yard. I soon saw a Greek slave, a girl of dazzling
beauty, for whom I felt the deepest interest. She was in the habit of
spending the whole day sitting near the door with a book or some
embroidery in her hand. If she happened to raise her eyes and to meet
mine, she modestly bent her head down, and sometimes she rose and went in
slowly, as if she meant to say, "I did not know that somebody was looking
at me." Her figure was tall and slender, her features proclaimed her to
be very young; she had a very fair complexion, with beautiful black hair
and eyes. She wore the Greek costume, which gave her person a certain air
of very exciting voluptuousness.

I was perfectly idle, and with the temperament which nature and habit had
given me, was it likely that I could feast my eyes constantly upon such a
charming object without falling desperately in love? I had heard her
conversing in Lingua Franca with her master, a fine old man, who, like
her, felt very weary of the quarantine, and used to come out but seldom,
smoking his pipe, and remaining in the yard only a short time. I felt a
great temptation to address a few words to the beautiful girl, but I was
afraid she might run away and never come out again; however, unable to
control myself any longer, I determined to write to her; I had no
difficulty in conveying the letter, as I had only to let it fall from my
balcony. But she might have refused to pick it up, and this is the plan I
adopted in order not to risk any unpleasant result.

Availing myself of a moment during which she was alone in the yard, I
dropped from my balcony a small piece of paper folded like a letter, but
I had taken care not to write anything on it, and held the true letter in
my hand. As soon as I saw her stooping down to pick up the first, I
quickly let the second drop at her feet, and she put both into her
pocket. A few minutes afterwards she left the yard. My letter was
somewhat to this effect:

"Beautiful angel from the East, I worship you. I will remain all night on
this balcony in the hope that you will come to me for a quarter of an
hour, and listen to my voice through the hole under my feet. We can speak
softly, and in order to hear me you can climb up to the top of the bale
of goods which lies beneath the same hole."

I begged from my keeper not to lock me in as he did every night, and he
consented on condition that he would watch me, for if I had jumped down
in the yard his life might have been the penalty, and he promised not to
disturb me on the balcony.

At midnight, as I was beginning to give her up, she came forward. I then
laid myself flat on the floor of the balcony, and I placed my head
against the hole, about six inches square. I saw her jump on the bale,
and her head reached within a foot from the balcony. She was compelled to
steady herself with one hand against the wall for fear of falling, and in
that position we talked of love, of ardent desires, of obstacles, of
impossibilities, and of cunning artifices. I told her the reason for
which I dared not jump down in the yard, and she observed that, even
without that reason, it would bring ruin upon us, as it would be
impossible to come up again, and that, besides, God alone knew what her
master would do if he were to find us together. Then, promising to visit
me in this way every night, she passed her hand through the hole. Alas! I
could not leave off kissing it, for I thought that I had never in my life
touched so soft, so delicate a hand. But what bliss when she begged for
mine! I quickly thrust my arm through the hole, so that she could fasten
her lips to the bend of the elbow. How many sweet liberties my hand
ventured to take! But we were at last compelled by prudence to separate,
and when I returned to my room I saw with great pleasure that the keeper
was fast asleep.

Although I was delighted at having obtained every favour I could possibly
wish for in the uncomfortable position we had been in, I racked my brain
to contrive the means of securing more complete enjoyment for the
following night, but I found during the afternoon that the feminine
cunning of my beautiful Greek was more fertile than mine.

Being alone in the yard with her master, she said a few words to him in
Turkish, to which he seemed to give his approval, and soon after a
servant, assisted by the keeper, brought under the balcony a large basket
of goods. She overlooked the arrangement, and in order to secure the
basket better, she made the servant place a bale of cotton across two
others. Guessing at her purpose, I fairly leaped for joy, for she had
found the way of raising herself two feet higher; but I thought that she
would then find herself in the most inconvenient position, and that,
forced to bend double, she would not be able to resist the fatigue. The
hole was not wide enough for her head to pass through, otherwise she
might have stood erect and been comfortable. It was necessary at all
events to guard against that difficulty; the only way was to tear out one
of the planks of the floor of the balcony, but it was not an easy
undertaking. Yet I decided upon attempting it, regardless of
consequences; and I went to my room to provide myself with a large pair
of pincers. Luckily the keeper was absent, and availing myself of the
opportunity, I succeeded in dragging out carefully the four large nails
which fastened the plank. Finding that I could lift it at my will, I
replaced the pincers, and waited for the night with amorous impatience.

The darling girl came exactly at midnight, noticing the difficulty she
experienced in climbing up, and in getting a footing upon the third bale
of cotton, I lifted the plank, and, extending my arm as far as I could, I
offered her a steady point of support. She stood straight, and found
herself agreeably surprised, for she could pass her head and her arms
through the hole. We wasted no time in empty compliments; we only
congratulated each other upon having both worked for the same purpose.

If, the night before, I had found myself master of her person more than
she was of mine, this time the position was entirely reversed. Her hand
roamed freely over every part of my body, but I had to stop half-way down
hers. She cursed the man who had packed the bale for not having made it
half a foot bigger, so as to get nearer to me. Very likely even that
would not have satisfied us, but she would have felt happier.

Our pleasures were barren, yet we kept up our enjoyment until the first
streak of light. I put back the plank carefully, and I lay down in my bed
in great need of recruiting my strength.

My dear mistress had informed me that the Turkish Bairam began that very
morning, and would last three days during which it would be impossible
for her to see me.

The night after Bairam, she did not fail to make her appearance, and,
saying that she could not be happy without me, she told me that, as she
was a Christian woman, I could buy her, if I waited for her after leaving
the lazzaretto. I was compelled to tell her that I did not possess the
means of doing so, and my confession made her sigh. On the following
night, she informed me that her master would sell her for two thousand
piasters, that she would give me the amount, that she was yet a virgin,
and that I would be pleased with my bargain. She added that she would
give me a casket full of diamonds, one of which was alone worth two
thousand piasters, and that the sale of the others would place us beyond
the reach of poverty for the remainder of our life. She assured me that
her master would not notice the loss of the casket, and that, if he did,
he would never think of accusing her.

I was in love with this girl; and her proposal made me uncomfortable, but
when I woke in the morning I did not hesitate any longer. She brought the
casket in the evening, but I told her that I never could make up my mind
to be accessory to a robbery; she was very unhappy, and said that my love
was not as deep as her own, but that she could not help admiring me for
being so good a Christian.

This was the last night; probably we should never meet again. The flame
of passion consumed us. She proposed that I should lift her up to the
balcony through the open space. Where is the lover who would have
objected to so attractive a proposal? I rose, and without being a Milo, I
placed my hands under her arms, I drew her up towards me, and my desires
are on the point of being fulfilled. Suddenly I feel two hands upon my
shoulders, and the voice of the keeper exclaims, "What are you about?" I
let my precious burden drop; she regains her chamber, and I, giving vent
to my rage, throw myself flat on the floor of the balcony, and remain
there without a movement, in spite of the shaking of the keeper whom I
was sorely tempted to strangle. At last I rose from the floor and went to
bed without uttering one word, and not even caring to replace the plank.

In the morning, the governor informed us that we were free. As I left the
lazzaretto, with a breaking heart, I caught a glimpse of the Greek slave
drowned in tears.

I agreed to meet Friar Stephano at the exchange, and I took the Jew from
whom I had hired the furniture, to the convent of the Minims, where I
received from Father Lazari ten sequins and the address of the bishop,
who, after performing quarantine on the frontiers of Tuscany, had
proceeded to Rome, where he would expect me to meet him.

I paid the Jew, and made a poor dinner at an inn. As I was leaving it to
join the monk, I was so unlucky as to meet Captain Alban, who reproached
me bitterly for having led him to believe that my trunk had been left
behind. I contrived to appease his anger by telling him all my
misfortunes, and I signed a paper in which I declared that I had no claim
whatever upon him. I then purchased a pair of shoes and an overcoat, and
met Stephano, whom I informed of my decision to make a pilgrimage to Our
Lady of Loretto. I said I would await there for him, and that we would
afterwards travel together as far as Rome. He answered that he did not
wish to go through Loretto, and that I would repent of my contempt for
the grace of Saint-Francis. I did not alter my mind, and I left for
Loretto the next day in the enjoyment of perfect health.

I reached the Holy City, tired almost to death, for it was the first time
in my life that I had walked fifteen miles, drinking nothing but water,
although the weather was very warm, because the dry wine used in that
part of the country parched me too much. I must observe that, in spite of
my poverty, I did not look like a beggar.

As I was entering the city, I saw coming towards me an elderly priest of
very respectable appearance, and, as he was evidently taking notice of
me, as soon as he drew near, I saluted him, and enquired where I could
find a comfortable inn. "I cannot doubt," he said, "that a person like
you, travelling on foot, must come here from devout motives; come with
me." He turned back, I followed him, and he took me to a fine-looking
house. After whispering a few words to a man who appeared to be a
steward, he left me saying, very affably, "You shall be well attended
to."

My first impression was that I had been mistaken for some other person,
but I said nothing.

I was led to a suite of three rooms; the chamber was decorated with
damask hangings, the bedstead had a canopy, and the table was supplied
with all materials necessary for writing. A servant brought me a light
dressing-gown, and another came in with linen and a large tub full of
water, which he placed before me; my shoes and stockings were taken off,
and my feet washed. A very decent-looking woman, followed by a servant
girl, came in a few minutes after, and curtsying very low, she proceeded
to make my bed. At that moment the Angelus bell was heard; everyone knelt
down, and I followed their example. After the prayer, a small table was
neatly laid out, I was asked what sort of wine I wished to drink, and I
was provided with newspapers and two silver candlesticks. An hour
afterwards I had a delicious fish supper, and, before I retired to bed, a
servant came to enquire whether I would take chocolate in the morning
before or after mass.

As soon as I was in bed, the servant brought me a night-lamp with a dial,
and I remained alone. Except in France I have never had such a good bed
as I had that night. It would have cured the most chronic insomnia, but I
was not labouring under such a disease, and I slept for ten hours.

This sort of treatment easily led me to believe that I was not in any
kind of hostelry; but where was I? How was I to suppose that I was in a
hospital?

When I had taken my chocolate, a hair-dresser--quite a fashionable,
dapper fellow--made his appearance, dying to give vent to his chattering
propensities. Guessing that I did not wish to be shaved, he offered to
clip my soft down with the scissors, saying that I would look younger.

"Why do you suppose that I want to conceal my age?"

"It is very natural, because, if your lordship did not wish to do so,
your lordship would have shaved long ago. Countess Marcolini is here;
does your lordship know her? I must go to her at noon to dress her hair."

I did not feel interested in the Countess Marcolini, and, seeing it, the
gossip changed the subject.

"Is this your lordship's first visit to this house? It is the finest
hospital throughout the papal states."

"I quite agree with you, and I shall compliment His Holiness on the
establishment."

"Oh! His Holiness knows all about it, he resided here before he became
pope. If Monsignor Caraffa had not been well acquainted with you, he
would not have introduced you here."

Such is the use of barbers throughout Europe; but you must not put any
questions to them, for, if you do, they are sure to threat you to an
impudent mixture of truth and falsehood, and instead of you pumping them,
they will worm everything out of you.

Thinking that it was my duty to present my respectful compliments to
Monsignor Caraffa, I desired to be taken to his apartment. He gave me a
pleasant welcome, shewed me his library, and entrusted me to the care of
one of his abbes, a man of parts, who acted as my cicerone every where.
Twenty years afterwards, this same abbe was of great service to me in
Rome, and, if still alive, he is a canon of St. John Lateran.

On the following day, I took the communion in the Santa-Casa. The third
day was entirely employed in examining the exterior of this truly
wonderful sanctuary, and early the next day I resumed my journey, having
spent nothing except three paoli for the barber. Halfway to Macerata, I
overtook Brother Stephano walking on at a very slow rate. He was
delighted to see me again, and told me that he had left Ancona two hours
after me, but that he never walked more than three miles a day, being
quite satisfied to take two months for a journey which, even on foot, can
easily be accomplished in a week. "I want," he said, "to reach Rome
without fatigue and in good health. I am in no hurry, and if you feel
disposed to travel with me and in the same quiet way, Saint-Francis will
not find it difficult to keep us both during the journey."

This lazy fellow was a man about thirty, red-haired, very strong and
healthy; a true peasant who had turned himself into a monk only for the
sake of living in idle comfort. I answered that, as I was in a hurry to
reach Rome, I could not be his travelling companion.

"I undertake to walk six miles, instead of three, today," he said, "if
you will carry my cloak, which I find very heavy."

The proposal struck me as a rather funny one; I put on his cloak, and he
took my great-coat, but, after the exchange, we cut such a comical figure
that every peasant we met laughed at us. His cloak would truly have
proved a load for a mule. There were twelve pockets quite full, without
taken into account a pocket behind, which he called 'il batticulo', and
which contained alone twice as much as all the others. Bread, wine, fresh
and salt meat, fowls, eggs, cheese, ham, sausages--everything was to be
found in those pockets, which contained provisions enough for a
fortnight.

I told him how well I had been treated in Loretto, and he assured me that
I might have asked Monsignor Caraffa to give me letters for all the
hospitals on my road to Rome, and that everywhere I would have met with
the same reception. "The hospitals," he added, "are all under the curse
of Saint-Francis, because the mendicant friars are not admitted in them;
but we do not mind their gates being shut against us, because they are
too far apart from each other. We prefer the homes of the persons
attached to our order; these we find everywhere."

"Why do you not ask hospitality in the convents of your order?"

"I am not so foolish. In the first place, I should not be admitted,
because, being a fugitive, I have not the written obedience which must be
shown at every convent, and I should even run the risk of being thrown
into prison; your monks are a cursed bad lot. In the second place, I
should not be half so comfortable in the convents as I am with our devout
benefactors."

"Why and how are you a fugitive?"

He answered my question by the narrative of his imprisonment and flight,
the whole story being a tissue of absurdities and lies. The fugitive
Recollet friar was a fool, with something of the wit of harlequin, and he
thought that every man listening to him was a greater fool than himself.
Yet with all his folly he was not went in a certain species of cunning.
His religious principles were singular. As he did not wish to be taken
for a bigoted man he was scandalous, and for the sake of making people
laugh he would often make use of the most disgusting expressions. He had
no taste whatever for women, and no inclination towards the pleasures of
the flesh; but this was only owing to a deficiency in his natural
temperament, and yet he claimed for himself the virtue of continence. On
that score, everything appeared to him food for merriment, and when he
had drunk rather too much, he would ask questions of such an indecent
character that they would bring blushes on everybody's countenance. Yet
the brute would only laugh.

As we were getting within one hundred yards from the house of the devout
friend whom he intended to honour with his visit, he took back his heavy
cloak. On entering the house he gave his blessing to everybody, and
everyone in the family came to kiss his hand. The mistress of the house
requested him to say mass for them, and the compliant monk asked to be
taken to the vestry, but when I whispered in his ear,---

"Have you forgotten that we have already broken our fast to-day?" he
answered, dryly,---

"Mind your own business."

I dared not make any further remark, but during the mass I was indeed
surprised, for I saw that he did not understand what he was doing. I
could not help being amused at his awkwardness, but I had not yet seen
the best part of the comedy. As soon as he had somehow or other finished
his mass he went to the confessional, and after hearing in confession
every member of the family he took it into his head to refuse absolution
to the daughter of his hostess, a girl of twelve or thirteen, pretty and
quite charming. He gave his refusal publicly, scolding her and
threatening her with the torments of hell. The poor girl, overwhelmed
with shame, left the church crying bitterly, and I, feeling real sympathy
for her, could not help saying aloud to Stephano that he was a madman. I
ran after the girl to offer her my consolations, but she had disappeared,
and could not be induced to join us at dinner. This piece of extravagance
on the part of the monk exasperated me to such an extent that I felt a
very strong inclination to thrash him. In the presence of all the family
I told him that he was an impostor, and the infamous destroyer of the
poor child's honour; I challenged him to explain his reasons for refusing
to give her absolution, but he closed my lips by answering very coolly
that he could not betray the secrets of the confessional. I could eat
nothing, and was fully determined to leave the scoundrel. As we left the
house I was compelled to accept one paolo as the price of the mock mass
he had said. I had to fulfil the sorry duty of his treasurer.

The moment we were on the road, I told him that I was going to part
company, because I was afraid of being sent as a felon to the galleys if
I continued my journey with him. We exchanged high words; I called him an
ignorant scoundrel, he styled me beggar. I struck him a violent slap on
the face, which he returned with a blow from his stick, but I quickly
snatched it from him, and, leaving him, I hastened towards Macerata. A
carrier who was going to Tolentino took me with him for two paoli, and
for six more I might have reached Foligno in a waggon, but unfortunately
a wish for economy made me refuse the offer. I felt well, and I thought I
could easily walk as far as Valcimare, but I arrived there only after
five hours of hard walking, and thoroughly beaten with fatigue. I was
strong and healthy, but a walk of five hours was more than I could bear,
because in my infancy I had never gone a league on foot. Young people
cannot practise too much the art of walking.

The next day, refreshed by a good night's rest, and ready to resume my
journey, I wanted to pay the innkeeper, but, alas! a new misfortune was
in store for me! Let the reader imagine my sad position! I recollected
that I had forgotten my purse, containing seven sequins, on the table of
the inn at Tolentino. What a thunderbolt! I was in despair, but I gave up
the idea of going back, as it was very doubtful whether I would find my
money. Yet it contained all I possessed, save a few copper coins I had in
my pocket. I paid my small bill, and, deeply grieved at my loss,
continued my journey towards Seraval. I was within three miles of that
place when, in jumping over a ditch, I sprained my ankle, and was
compelled to sit down on one side of the road, and to wait until someone
should come to my assistance.

In the course of an hour a peasant happened to pass with his donkey, and
he agreed to carry me to Seraval for one paolo. As I wanted to spend as
little as possible, the peasant took me to an ill-looking fellow who, for
two paoli paid in advance, consented to give me a lodging. I asked him to
send for a surgeon, but I did not obtain one until the following morning.
I had a wretched supper, after which I lay down in a filthy bed. I was in
hope that sleep would bring me some relief, but my evil genius was
preparing for me a night of torments.

Three men, armed with guns and looking like banditti, came in shortly
after I had gone to bed, speaking a kind of slang which I could not make
out, swearing, raging, and paying no attention to me. They drank and sang
until midnight, after which they threw themselves down on bundles of
straw brought for them, and my host, who was drunk, came, greatly to my
dismay, to lie down near me. Disgusted at the idea of having such a
fellow for my bed companion, I refused to let him come, but he answered,
with fearful blasphemies, that all the devils in hell could not prevent
him from taking possession of his own bed. I was forced to make room for
him, and exclaimed "Heavens, where am I?" He told me that I was in the
house of the most honest constable in all the papal states.

Could I possibly have supposed that the peasant would have brought me
amongst those accursed enemies of humankind!

He laid himself down near me, but the filthy scoundrel soon compelled me
to give him, for certain reasons, such a blow in his chest that he rolled
out of bed. He picked himself up, and renewed his beastly attempt. Being
well aware that I could not master him without great danger, I got out of
bed, thinking myself lucky that he did not oppose my wish, and crawling
along as well as I could, I found a chair on which I passed the night. At
day-break, my tormentor, called up by his honest comrades, joined them in
drinking and shouting, and the three strangers, taking their guns,
departed. Left alone by the departure of the vile rabble, I passed
another unpleasant hour, calling in vain for someone. At last a young boy
came in, I gave him some money and he went for a surgeon. The doctor
examined my foot, and assured me that three or four days would set me to
rights. He advised me to be removed to an inn, and I most willingly
followed his counsel. As soon as I was brought to the inn, I went to bed,
and was well cared for, but my position was such that I dreaded the
moment of my recovery. I feared that I should be compelled to sell my
coat to pay the inn-keeper, and the very thought made me feel ashamed. I
began to consider that if I had controlled my sympathy for the young girl
so ill-treated by Stephano, I should not have fallen into this sad
predicament, and I felt conscious that my sympathy had been a mistake. If
I had put up with the faults of the friar, if this and if that, and every
other if was conjured up to torment my restless and wretched brain. Yet I
must confess that the thoughts which have their origin in misfortune are
not without advantage to a young man, for they give him the habit of
thinking, and the man who does not think never does anything right.

The morning of the fourth day came, and I was able to walk, as the
surgeon had predicted; I made up my mind, although reluctantly, to beg
the worthy man to sell my great coat for me--a most unpleasant necessity,
for rain had begun to fall. I owed fifteen paoli to the inn-keeper and
four to the surgeon. Just as I was going to proffer my painful request,
Brother Stephano made his appearance in my room, and burst into loud
laughter enquiring whether I had forgotten the blow from his stick!

I was struck with amazement! I begged the surgeon to leave me with the
monk, and he immediately complied.

I must ask my readers whether it is possible, in the face of such
extraordinary circumstances, not to feel superstitious! What is truly
miraculous in this case is the precise minute at which the event took
place, for the friar entered the room as the word was hanging on my lips.
What surprised me most was the force of Providence, of fortune, of
chance, whatever name is given to it, of that very necessary combination
which compelled me to find no hope but in that fatal monk, who had begun
to be my protective genius in Chiozza at the moment my distress had
likewise commenced. And yet, a singular guardian angel, this Stephano! I
felt that the mysterious force which threw me in his hands was a
punishment rather than a favour.

Nevertheless he was welcome, because I had no doubt of his relieving me
from my difficulties,--and whatever might be the power that sent him to
me, I felt that I could not do better than to submit to its influence;
the destiny of that monk was to escort me to Rome.

"Chi va piano va sano," said the friar as soon as we were alone. He had
taken five days to traverse the road over which I had travelled in one
day, but he was in good health, and he had met with no misfortune. He
told me that, as he was passing, he heard that an abbe, secretary to the
Venetian ambassador at Rome, was lying ill at the inn, after having been
robbed in Valcimara. "I came to see you," he added, "and as I find you
recovered from your illness, we can start again together; I agree to walk
six miles every day to please you. Come, let us forget the past, and let
us be at once on our way."

"I cannot go; I have lost my purse, and I owe twenty paoli."

"I will go and find the amount in the name of Saint-Francis."

He returned within an hour, but he was accompanied by the infamous
constable who told me that, if I had let him know who I was, he would
have been happy to keep me in his house. "I will give you," he continued,
"forty paoli, if you will promise me the protection of your ambassador;
but if you do not succeed in obtaining it for me in Rome, you will
undertake to repay me. Therefore you must give me an acknowledgement of
the debt."

"I have no objection." Every arrangement was speedily completed; I
received the money, paid my debts, and left Seraval with Stephano.

About one o'clock in the afternoon, we saw a wretched-looking house at a
short distance from the road, and the friar said, "It is a good distance
from here to Collefiorito; we had better put up there for the night." It
was in vain that I objected, remonstrating that we were certain of having
very poor accommodation! I had to submit to his will. We found a decrepit
old man lying on a pallet, two ugly women of thirty or forty, three
children entirely naked, a cow, and a cursed dog which barked
continually. It was a picture of squalid misery; but the niggardly monk,
instead of giving alms to the poor people, asked them to entertain us to
supper in the name of Saint-Francis.

"You must boil the hen," said the dying man to the females, "and bring
out of the cellar the bottle of wine which I have kept now for twenty
years." As he uttered those few words, he was seized with such a fit of
coughing that I thought he would die. The friar went near him, and
promised him that, by the grace of Saint-Francis, he would get young and
well. Moved by the sight of so much misery, I wanted to continue my
journey as far as Collefiorito, and to wait there for Stephano, but the
women would not let me go, and I remained. After boiling for four hours
the hen set the strongest teeth at defiance, and the bottle which I
uncorked proved to be nothing but sour vinegar. Losing patience, I got
hold of the monk's batticaslo, and took out of it enough for a plentiful
supper, and I saw the two women opening their eyes very wide at the sight
of our provisions.

We all ate with good appetite, and, after our supper the women made for
us two large beds of fresh straw, and we lay down in the dark, as the
last bit of candle to be found in the miserable dwelling was burnt out.
We had not been lying on the straw five minutes, when Stephano called out
to me that one of the women had just placed herself near him, and at the
same instant the other one takes me in her arms and kisses me. I push her
away, and the monk defends himself against the other; but mine, nothing
daunted, insists upon laying herself near me; I get up, the dog springs
at my neck, and fear compels me to remain quiet on my straw bed; the monk
screams, swears, struggles, the dog barks furiously, the old man coughs;
all is noise and confusion. At last Stephano, protected by his heavy
garments, shakes off the too loving shrew, and, braving the dog, manages
to find his stick. Then he lays about to right and left, striking in
every direction; one of the women exclaims, "Oh, God!" the friar answers,
"She has her quietus." Calm reigns again in the house, the dog, most
likely dead, is silent; the old man, who perhaps has received his
death-blow, coughs no more; the children sleep, and the women, afraid of
the singular caresses of the monk, sheer off into a corner; the remainder
of the night passed off quietly.

At day-break I rose; Stephano was likewise soon up. I looked all round,
and my surprise was great when I found that the women had gone out, and
seeing that the old man gave no sign of life, and had a bruise on his
forehead, I shewed it to Stephano, remarking that very likely he had
killed him.

"It is possible," he answered, "but I have not done it intentionally."

Then taking up his batticulo and finding it empty he flew into a violent
passion; but I was much pleased, for I had been afraid that the women had
gone out to get assistance and to have us arrested, and the robbery of
our provisions reassured me, as I felt certain that the poor wretches had
gone out of the way so as to secure impunity for their theft. But I laid
great stress upon the danger we should run by remaining any longer, and I
succeeded in frightening the friar out of the house. We soon met a
waggoner going to Folligno; I persuaded Stephano to take the opportunity
of putting a good distance between us and the scene of our last
adventures; and, as we were eating our breakfast at Folligno, we saw
another waggon, quite empty, got a lift in it for a trifle, and thus rode
to Pisignano, where a devout person gave us a charitable welcome, and I
slept soundly through the night without the dread of being arrested.

Early the next day we reached Spoleti, where Brother Stephano had two
benefactors, and, careful not to give either of them a cause of jealousy,
he favoured both; we dined with the first, who entertained us like
princes, and we had supper and lodging in the house of the second, a
wealthy wine merchant, and the father of a large and delightful family.
He gave us a delicious supper, and everything would have gone on
pleasantly had not the friar, already excited by his good dinner, made
himself quite drunk. In that state, thinking to please his new host, he
began to abuse the other, greatly to my annoyance; he said the wine he
had given us to drink was adulterated, and that the man was a thief. I
gave him the lie to his face, and called him a scoundrel. The host and
his wife pacified me, saying that they were well acquainted with their
neighbour, and knew what to think of him; but the monk threw his napkin
at my face, and the host took him very quietly by the arm and put him to
bed in a room in which he locked him up. I slept in another room.

In the morning I rose early, and was considering whether it would not be
better to go alone, when the friar, who had slept himself sober, made his
appearance and told me that we ought for the future to live together like
good friends, and not give way to angry feelings; I followed my destiny
once more. We resumed our journey, and at Soma, the inn-keeper, a woman
of rare beauty, gave us a good dinner, and some excellent Cyprus wine
which the Venetian couriers exchanged with her against delicious truffles
found in the vicinity of Soma, which sold for a good price in Venice. I
did not leave the handsome inn-keeper without losing a part of my heart.

It would be difficult to draw a picture of the indignation which
overpowered me when, as we were about two miles from Terni, the infamous
friar shewed me a small bag full of truffles which the scoundrel had
stolen from the amiable woman by way of thanks for her generous
hospitality. The truffles were worth two sequins at least. In my
indignation I snatched the bag from him, saying that I would certainly
return it to its lawful owner. But, as he had not committed the robbery
to give himself the pleasure of making restitution, he threw himself upon
me, and we came to a regular fight. But victory did not remain long in
abeyance; I forced his stick out of his hands, knocked him into a ditch,
and went off. On reaching Terni, I wrote a letter of apology to our
beautiful hostess of Soma, and sent back the truffles.

From Terni I went on foot to Otricoli, where I only stayed long enough to
examine the fine old bridge, and from there I paid four paoli to a
waggoner who carried me to Castel-Nuovo, from which place I walked to
Rome. I reached the celebrated city on the 1st of September, at nine in
the morning.

I must not forget to mention here a rather peculiar circumstance, which,
however ridiculous it may be in reality, will please many of my readers.

An hour after I had left Castel-Nuovo, the atmosphere being calm and the
sky clear, I perceived on my right, and within ten paces of me, a
pyramidal flame about two feet long and four or five feet above the
ground. This apparition surprised me, because it seemed to accompany me.
Anxious to examine it, I endeavoured to get nearer to it, but the more I
advanced towards it the further it went from me. It would stop when I
stood still, and when the road along which I was travelling happened to
be lined with trees, I no longer saw it, but it was sure to reappear as
soon as I reached a portion of the road without trees. I several times
retraced my steps purposely, but, every time I did so, the flame
disappeared, and would not shew itself again until I proceeded towards
Rome. This extraordinary beacon left me when daylight chased darkness
from the sky.

What a splendid field for ignorant superstition, if there had been any
witnesses to that phenomenon, and if I had chanced to make a great name
in Rome! History is full of such trifles, and the world is full of people
who attach great importance to them in spite of the so-called light of
science. I must candidly confess that, although somewhat versed in
physics, the sight of that small meteor gave me singular ideas. But I was
prudent enough not to mention the circumstance to any one.

When I reached the ancient capital of the world, I possessed only seven
paoli, and consequently I did not loiter about. I paid no attention to
the splendid entrance through the gate of the polar trees, which is by
mistake pompously called of the people, or to the beautiful square of the
same name, or to the portals of the magnificent churches, or to all the
stately buildings which generally strike the traveller as he enters the
city. I went straight towards Monte-Magnanopoli, where, according to the
address given to me, I was to find the bishop. There I was informed that
he had left Rome ten days before, leaving instructions to send me to
Naples free of expense. A coach was to start for Naples the next day; not
caring to see Rome, I went to bed until the time for the departure of the
coach. I travelled with three low fellows to whom I did not address one
word through the whole of the journey. I entered Naples on the 6th day of
September.

I went immediately to the address which had been given to me in Rome; the
bishop was not there. I called at the Convent of the Minims, and I found
that he had left Naples to proceed to Martorano. I enquired whether he
had left any instructions for me, but all in vain, no one could give me
any information. And there I was, alone in a large city, without a
friend, with eight carlini in my pocket, and not knowing what to do! But
never mind; fate calls me to Martorano, and to Martorano I must go. The
distance, after all, is only two hundred miles.

I found several drivers starting for Cosenza, but when they heard that I
had no luggage, they refused to take me, unless I paid in advance. They
were quite right, but their prudence placed me under the necessity of
going on foot. Yet I felt I must reach Martorano, and I made up my mind
to walk the distance, begging food and lodging like the very reverend
Brother Stephano.

First of all I made a light meal for one fourth of my money, and, having
been informed that I had to follow the Salerno road, I went towards
Portici where I arrived in an hour and a half. I already felt rather
fatigued; my legs, if not my head, took me to an inn, where I ordered a
room and some supper. I was served in good style, my appetite was
excellent, and I passed a quiet night in a comfortable bed. In the
morning I told the inn-keeper that I would return for my dinner, and I
went out to visit the royal palace. As I passed through the gate, I was
met by a man of prepossessing appearance, dressed in the eastern fashion,
who offered to shew me all over the palace, saying that I would thus save
my money. I was in a position to accept any offer; I thanked him for his
kindness.

Happening during the conversation to state that I was a Venetian, he told
me that he was my subject, since he came from Zante. I acknowledged his
polite compliment with a reverence.

"I have," he said, "some very excellent muscatel wine 'grown in the East,
which I could sell you cheap."

"I might buy some, but I warn you I am a good judge."

"So much the better. Which do you prefer?"

"The Cerigo wine."

"You are right. I have some rare Cerigo muscatel, and we can taste it if
you have no objection to dine with me."

"None whatever."

"I can likewise give you the wines of Samos and Cephalonia. I have also a
quantity of minerals, plenty of vitriol, cinnabar, antimony, and one
hundred quintals of mercury."

"Are all these goods here?"

"No, they are in Naples. Here I have only the muscatel wine and the
mercury."

It is quite naturally and without any intention to deceive, that a young
man accustomed to poverty, and ashamed of it when he speaks to a rich
stranger, boasts of his means--of his fortune. As I was talking with my
new acquaintance, I recollected an amalgam of mercury with lead and
bismuth, by which the mercury increases one-fourth in weight. I said
nothing, but I bethought myself that if the mystery should be unknown to
the Greek I might profit by it. I felt that some cunning was necessary,
and that he would not care for my secret if I proposed to sell it to him
without preparing the way. The best plan was to astonish my man with the
miracle of the augmentation of the mercury, treat it as a jest, and see
what his intentions would be. Cheating is a crime, but honest cunning may
be considered as a species of prudence. True, it is a quality which is
near akin to roguery; but that cannot be helped, and the man who, in time
of need, does not know how to exercise his cunning nobly is a fool. The
Greeks call this sort of wisdom Cerdaleophyon from the word cerdo; fox,
and it might be translated by foxdom if there were such a word in
English.

After we had visited the palace we returned to the inn, and the Greek
took me to his room, in which he ordered the table to be laid for two. In
the next room I saw several large vessels of muscatel wine and four
flagons of mercury, each containing about ten pounds.

My plans were laid, and I asked him to let me have one of the flagons of
mercury at the current price, and took it to my room. The Greek went out
to attend to his business, reminding me that he expected me to dinner. I
went out likewise, and bought two pounds and a half of lead and an equal
quantity of bismuth; the druggist had no more. I came back to the inn,
asked for some large empty bottles, and made the amalgam.

We dined very pleasantly, and the Greek was delighted because I
pronounced his Cerigo excellent. In the course of conversation he
inquired laughingly why I had bought one of his flagons of mercury.

"You can find out if you come to my room," I said.

After dinner we repaired to my room, and he found his mercury divided in
two vessels. I asked for a piece of chamois, strained the liquid through
it, filled his own flagon, and the Greek stood astonished at the sight of
the fine mercury, about one-fourth of a flagon, which remained over, with
an equal quantity of a powder unknown to him; it was the bismuth. My
merry laugh kept company with his astonishment, and calling one of the
servants of the inn I sent him to the druggist to sell the mercury that
was left. He returned in a few minutes and handed me fifteen carlini.

The Greek, whose surprise was complete, asked me to give him back his own
flagon, which was there quite full, and worth sixty carlini. I handed it
to him with a smile, thanking him for the opportunity he had afforded me
of earning fifteen carlini, and took care to add that I should leave for
Salerno early the next morning.

"Then we must have supper together this evening," he said.

During the afternoon we took a walk towards Mount Vesuvius. Our
conversation went from one subject to another, but no allusion was made
to the mercury, though I could see that the Greek had something on his
mind. At supper he told me, jestingly, that I ought to stop in Portici
the next day to make forty-five carlini out of the three other flagons of
mercury. I answered gravely that I did not want the money, and that I had
augmented the first flagon only for the sake of procuring him an
agreeable surprise.

"But," said he, "you must be very wealthy."

"No, I am not, because I am in search of the secret of the augmentation
of gold, and it is a very expensive study for us."

"How many are there in your company?"

"Only my uncle and myself."

"What do you want to augment gold for? The augmentation of mercury ought
to be enough for you. Pray, tell me whether the mercury augmented by you
to-day is again susceptible of a similar increase."

"No, if it were so, it would be an immense source of wealth for us."

"I am much pleased with your sincerity."

Supper over I paid my bill, and asked the landlord to get me a carriage
and pair of horses to take me to Salerno early the next morning. I
thanked the Greek for his delicious muscatel wine, and, requesting his
address in Naples, I assured him that he would see me within a fortnight,
as I was determined to secure a cask of his Cerigo.

We embraced each other, and I retired to bed well pleased with my day's
work, and in no way astonished at the Greek's not offering to purchase my
secret, for I was certain that he would not sleep for anxiety, and that I
should see him early in the morning. At all events, I had enough money to
reach the Tour-du-Grec, and there Providence would take care of me. Yet
it seemed to me very difficult to travel as far as Martorano, begging
like a mendicant-friar, because my outward appearance did not excite
pity; people would feel interested in me only from a conviction that I
needed nothing--a very unfortunate conviction, when the object of it is
truly poor.

As I had forseen, the Greek was in my room at daybreak. I received him in
a friendly way, saying that we could take coffee together.

"Willingly; but tell me, reverend abbe, whether you would feel disposed
to sell me your secret?"

"Why not? When we meet in Naples--"

"But why not now?"

"I am expected in Salerno; besides, I would only sell the secret for a
large sum of money, and I am not acquainted with you."

"That does not matter, as I am sufficiently known here to pay you in
cash. How much would you want?"

"Two thousand ounces."

"I agree to pay you that sum provided that I succeed in making the
augmentation myself with such matter as you name to me, which I will
purchase."

"It is impossible, because the necessary ingredients cannot be got here;
but they are common enough in Naples."

"If it is any sort of metal, we can get it at the Tourdu-Grec. We could
go there together. Can you tell me what is the expense of the
augmentation?"

"One and a half per cent. but are you likewise known at the Tour-du-Grec,
for I should not like to lose my time?"

"Your doubts grieve me."

Saying which, he took a pen, wrote a few words, and handed to me this
order:

"At sight, pay to bearer the sum of fifty gold ounces, on account of
Panagiotti."

He told me that the banker resided within two hundred yards of the inn,
and he pressed me to go there myself. I did not stand upon ceremony, but
went to the banker who paid me the amount. I returned to my room in which
he was waiting for me, and placed the gold on the table, saying that we
could now proceed together to the Tour-du-Grec, where we would complete
our arrangements after the signature of a deed of agreement. The Greek
had his own carriage and horses; he gave orders for them to be got ready,
and we left the inn; but he had nobly insisted upon my taking possession
of the fifty ounces.

When we arrived at the Tour-du-Grec, he signed a document by which he
promised to pay me two thousand ounces as soon as I should have
discovered to him the process of augmenting mercury by one-fourth without
injuring its quality, the amalgam to be equal to the mercury which I had
sold in his presence at Portici.

He then gave me a bill of exchange payable at sight in eight days on M.
Genaro de Carlo. I told him that the ingredients were lead and bismuth;
the first, combining with mercury, and the second giving to the whole the
perfect fluidity necessary to strain it through the chamois leather. The
Greek went out to try the amalgam--I do not know where, and I dined
alone, but toward evening he came back, looking very disconsolate, as I
had expected.

"I have made the amalgam," he said, "but the mercury is not perfect."

"It is equal to that which I have sold in Portici, and that is the very
letter of your engagement."

"But my engagement says likewise without injury to the quality. You must
agree that the quality is injured, because it is no longer susceptible of
further augmentation."

"You knew that to be the case; the point is its equality with the mercury
I sold in Portici. But we shall have to go to law, and you will lose. I
am sorry the secret should become public. Congratulate yourself, sir,
for, if you should gain the lawsuit, you will have obtained my secret for
nothing. I would never have believed you capable of deceiving me in such
a manner."

"Reverend sir, I can assure you that I would not willingly deceive any
one."

"Do you know the secret, or do you not? Do you suppose I would have given
it to you without the agreement we entered into? Well, there will be some
fun over this affair in Naples, and the lawyers will make money out of
it. But I am much grieved at this turn of affairs, and I am very sorry
that I allowed myself to be so easily deceived by your fine talk. In the
mean time, here are your fifty ounces."

As I was taking the money out of my pocket, frightened to death lest he
should accept it, he left the room, saying that he would not have it. He
soon returned; we had supper in the same room, but at separate tables;
war had been openly declared, but I felt certain that a treaty of peace
would soon be signed. We did not exchange one word during the evening,
but in the morning he came to me as I was getting ready to go. I again
offered to return the money I received, but he told me to keep it, and
proposed to give me fifty ounces more if I would give him back his bill
of exchange for two thousand. We began to argue the matter quietly, and
after two hours of discussion I gave in. I received fifty ounces more, we
dined together like old friends, and embraced each other cordially. As I
was bidding him adieu, he gave me an order on his house at Naples for a
barrel of muscatel wine, and he presented me with a splendid box
containing twelve razors with silver handles, manufactured in the
Tour-du-Grec. We parted the best friends in the world and well pleased
with each other.

I remained two days in Salerno to provide myself with linen and other
necessaries. Possessing about one hundred sequins, and enjoying good
health, I was very proud of my success, in which I could not see any
cause of reproach to myself, for the cunning I had brought into play to
insure the sale of my secret could not be found fault with except by the
most intolerant of moralists, and such men have no authority to speak on
matters of business. At all events, free, rich, and certain of presenting
myself before the bishop with a respectable appearance, and not like a
beggar, I soon recovered my natural spirits, and congratulated myself
upon having bought sufficient experience to insure me against falling a
second time an easy prey to a Father Corsini, to thieving gamblers, to
mercenary women, and particularly to the impudent scoundrels who
barefacedly praise so well those they intend to dupe--a species of knaves
very common in the world, even amongst people who form what is called
good society.

I left Salerno with two priests who were going to Cosenza on business,
and we traversed the distance of one hundred and forty-two miles in
twenty-two hours. The day after my arrival in the capital of Calabria, I
took a small carriage and drove to Martorano. During the journey, fixing
my eyes upon the famous mare Ausonaum, I felt delighted at finding myself
in the middle of Magna Grecia, rendered so celebrated for twenty-four
centuries by its connection with Pythagoras. I looked with astonishment
upon a country renowned for its fertility, and in which, in spite of
nature's prodigality, my eyes met everywhere the aspect of terrible
misery, the complete absence of that pleasant superfluity which helps man
to enjoy life, and the degradation of the inhabitants sparsely scattered
on a soil where they ought to be so numerous; I felt ashamed to
acknowledge them as originating from the same stock as myself. Such is,
however the Terra di Lavoro where labour seems to be execrated, where
everything is cheap, where the miserable inhabitants consider that they
have made a good bargain when they have found anyone disposed to take
care of the fruit which the ground supplies almost spontaneously in too
great abundance, and for which there is no market. I felt compelled to
admit the justice of the Romans who had called them Brutes instead of
Byutians. The good priests with whom I had been travelling laughed at my
dread of the tarantula and of the crasydra, for the disease brought on by
the bite of those insects appeared to me more fearful even than a certain
disease with which I was already too well acquainted. They assured me
that all the stories relating to those creatures were fables; they
laughed at the lines which Virgil has devoted to them in the Georgics as
well as at all those I quoted to justify my fears.

I found Bishop Bernard de Bernardis occupying a hard chair near an old
table on which he was writing. I fell on my knees, as it is customary to
do before a prelate, but, instead of giving me his blessing, he raised me
up from the floor, and, folding me in his arms, embraced me tenderly. He
expressed his deep sorrow when I told him that in Naples I had not been
able to find any instructions to enable me to join him, but his face
lighted up again when I added that I was indebted to no one for money,
and that I was in good health. He bade me take a seat, and with a heavy
sigh he began to talk of his poverty, and ordered a servant to lay the
cloth for three persons. Besides this servant, his lordship's suite
consisted of a most devout-looking housekeeper, and of a priest whom I
judged to be very ignorant from the few words he uttered during our meal.
The house inhabited by his lordship was large, but badly built and poorly
kept. The furniture was so miserable that, in order to make up a bed for
me in the room adjoining his chamber, the poor bishop had to give up one
of his two mattresses! His dinner, not to say any more about it,
frightened me, for he was very strict in keeping the rules of his order,
and this being a fast day, he did not eat any meat, and the oil was very
bad. Nevertheless, monsignor was an intelligent man, and, what is still
better, an honest man. He told me, much to my surprise, that his
bishopric, although not one of little importance, brought him in only
five hundred ducat-diregno yearly, and that, unfortunately, he had
contracted debts to the amount of six hundred. He added, with a sigh,
that his only happiness was to feel himself out of the clutches of the
monks, who had persecuted him, and made his life a perfect purgatory for
fifteen years. All these confidences caused me sorrow and mortification,
because they proved to me, not only that I was not in the promised land
where a mitre could be picked up, but also that I would be a heavy charge
for him. I felt that he was grieved himself at the sorry present his
patronage seemed likely to prove.

I enquired whether he had a good library, whether there were any literary
men, or any good society in which one could spend a few agreeable hours.
He smiled and answered that throughout his diocese there was not one man
who could boast of writing decently, and still less of any taste or
knowledge in literature; that there was not a single bookseller, nor any
person caring even for the newspapers. But he promised me that we would
follow our literary tastes together, as soon as he received the books he
had ordered from Naples.

That was all very well, but was this the place for a young man of
eighteen to live in, without a good library, without good society,
without emulation and literacy intercourse? The good bishop, seeing me
full of sad thoughts, and almost astounded at the prospect of the
miserable life I should have to lead with him, tried to give me courage
by promising to do everything in his power to secure my happiness.

The next day, the bishop having to officiate in his pontifical robes, I
had an opportunity of seeing all the clergy, and all the faithful of the
diocese, men and women, of whom the cathedral was full; the sight made me
resolve at once to leave Martorano. I thought I was gazing upon a troop
of brutes for whom my external appearance was a cause of scandal. How
ugly were the women! What a look of stupidity and coarseness in the men!
When I returned to the bishop's house I told the prelate that I did not
feel in me the vocation to die within a few months a martyr in this
miserable city.

"Give me your blessing," I added, "and let me go; or, rather, come with
me. I promise you that we shall make a fortune somewhere else."

The proposal made him laugh repeatedly during the day. Had he agreed to
it he would not have died two years afterwards in the prime of manhood.
The worthy man, feeling how natural was my repugnance, begged me to
forgive him for having summoned me to him, and, considering it his duty
to send me back to Venice, having no money himself and not being aware
that I had any, he told me that he would give me an introduction to a
worthy citizen of Naples who would lend me sixty ducati-di-regno to
enable me to reach my native city. I accepted his offer with gratitude,
and going to my room I took out of my trunk the case of fine razors which
the Greek had given me, and I begged his acceptance of it as a souvenir
of me. I had great difficulty in forcing it upon him, for it was worth
the sixty ducats, and to conquer his resistance I had to threaten to
remain with him if he refused my present. He gave me a very flattering
letter of recommendation for the Archbishop of Cosenza, in which he
requested him to forward me as far as Naples without any expense to
myself. It was thus I left Martorano sixty hours after my arrival,
pitying the bishop whom I was leaving behind, and who wept as he was
pouring heartfelt blessings upon me.

The Archbishop of Cosenza, a man of wealth and of intelligence, offered
me a room in his palace. During the dinner I made, with an overflowing
heart, the eulogy of the Bishop of Martorano; but I railed mercilessly at
his diocese and at the whole of Calabria in so cutting a manner that I
greatly amused the archbishop and all his guests, amongst whom were two
ladies, his relatives, who did the honours of the dinner-table. The
youngest, however, objected to the satirical style in which I had
depicted her country, and declared war against me; but I contrived to
obtain peace again by telling her that Calabria would be a delightful
country if one-fourth only of its inhabitants were like her. Perhaps it
was with the idea of proving to me that I had been wrong in my opinion
that the archbishop gave on the following day a splendid supper.

Cosenza is a city in which a gentleman can find plenty of amusement; the
nobility are wealthy, the women are pretty, and men generally
well-informed, because they have been educated in Naples or in Rome. I
left Cosenza on the third day with a letter from the archbishop for the
far-famed Genovesi.

I had five travelling companions, whom I judged, from their appearance,
to be either pirates or banditti, and I took very good care not to let
them see or guess that I had a well-filled purse. I likewise thought it
prudent to go to bed without undressing during the whole journey--an
excellent measure of prudence for a young man travelling in that part of
the country.

I reached Naples on the 16th of September, 1743, and I lost no time in
presenting the letter of the Bishop of Martorano. It was addressed to a
M. Gennaro Polo at St. Anne's. This excellent man, whose duty was only to
give me the sum of sixty ducats, insisted, after perusing the bishop's
letter, upon receiving me in his house, because he wished me to make the
acquaintance of his son, who was a poet like myself. The bishop had
represented my poetry as sublime. After the usual ceremonies, I accepted
his kind invitation, my trunk was sent for, and I was a guest in the
house of M. Gennaro Polo.




CHAPTER IX

     My Stay in Naples; It Is Short but Happy--Don Antonio
     Casanova--Don Lelio Caraffa--I Go to Rome in Very Agreeable
     Company, and Enter the Service of Cardinal Acquaviva--
     Barbara--Testaccio--Frascati

[Illustration: 1c09.jpg

I had no difficulty in answering the various questions which Doctor
Gennaro addressed to me, but I was surprised, and even displeased, at the
constant peals of laughter with which he received my answers. The piteous
description of miserable Calabria, and the picture of the sad situation
of the Bishop of Martorano, appeared to me more likely to call forth
tears than to excite hilarity, and, suspecting that some mystification
was being played upon me, I was very near getting angry when, becoming
more composed, he told me with feeling that I must kindly excuse him;
that his laughter was a disease which seemed to be endemic in his family,
for one of his uncles died of it.

"What!" I exclaimed, "died of laughing!"

"Yes. This disease, which was not known to Hippocrates, is called li
flati."

"What do you mean? Does an hypochondriac affection, which causes sadness
and lowness in all those who suffer from it, render you cheerful?"

"Yes, because, most likely, my flati, instead of influencing the
hypochondrium, affects my spleen, which my physician asserts to be the
organ of laughter. It is quite a discovery."

"You are mistaken; it is a very ancient notion, and it is the only
function which is ascribed to the spleen in our animal organization."

"Well, we must discuss the matter at length, for I hope you will remain
with us a few weeks."

"I wish I could, but I must leave Naples to-morrow or the day after."

"Have you got any money?"

"I rely upon the sixty ducats you have to give me."

At these words, his peals of laughter began again, and as he could see
that I was annoyed, he said, "I am amused at the idea that I can keep you
here as long as I like. But be good enough to see my son; he writes
pretty verses enough."

And truly his son, although only fourteen, was already a great poet.

A servant took me to the apartment of the young man whom I found
possessed of a pleasing countenance and engaging manners. He gave me a
polite welcome, and begged to be excused if he could not attend to me
altogether for the present, as he had to finish a song which he was
composing for a relative of the Duchess de Rovino, who was taking the
veil at the Convent of St. Claire, and the printer was waiting for the
manuscript. I told him that his excuse was a very good one, and I offered
to assist him. He then read his song, and I found it so full of
enthusiasm, and so truly in the style of Guidi, that I advised him to
call it an ode; but as I had praised all the truly beautiful passages, I
thought I could venture to point out the weak ones, and I replaced them
by verses of my own composition. He was delighted, and thanked me warmly,
inquiring whether I was Apollo. As he was writing his ode, I composed a
sonnet on the same subject, and, expressing his admiration for it he
begged me to sign it, and to allow him to send it with his poetry.

While I was correcting and recopying my manuscript, he went to his father
to find out who I was, which made the old man laugh until supper-time. In
the evening, I had the pleasure of seeing that my bed had been prepared
in the young man's chamber.

Doctor Gennaro's family was composed of this son and of a daughter
unfortunately very plain, of his wife and of two elderly, devout sisters.
Amongst the guests at the supper-table I met several literary men, and
the Marquis Galiani, who was at that time annotating Vitruvius. He had a
brother, an abbe whose acquaintance I made twenty years after, in Paris,
when he was secretary of embassy to Count Cantillana. The next day, at
supper, I was presented to the celebrated Genovesi; I had already sent
him the letter of the Archbishop of Cosenza. He spoke to me of Apostolo
Zeno and of the Abbe Conti. He remarked that it was considered a very
venial sin for a regular priest to say two masses in one day for the sake
of earning two carlini more, but that for the same sin a secular priest
would deserve to be burnt at the stake.

The nun took the veil on the following day, and Gennaro's ode and my
sonnet had the greatest success. A Neapolitan gentleman, whose name was
the same as mine, expressed a wish to know me, and, hearing that I
resided at the doctor's, he called to congratulate him on the occasion of
his feast-day, which happened to fall on the day following the ceremony
at Sainte-Claire.

Don Antonio Casanova, informing me of his name, enquired whether my
family was originally from Venice.

"I am, sir," I answered modestly, "the great-grandson of the unfortunate
Marco Antonio Casanova, secretary to Cardinal Pompeo Colonna, who died of
the plague in Rome, in the year 1528, under the pontificate of Clement
VII." The words were scarcely out of my lips when he embraced me, calling
me his cousin, but we all thought that Doctor Gennaro would actually die
with laughter, for it seemed impossible to laugh so immoderately without
risk of life. Madame Gennaro was very angry and told my newly-found
cousin that he might have avoided enacting such a scene before her
husband, knowing his disease, but he answered that he never thought the
circumstance likely to provoke mirth. I said nothing, for, in reality, I
felt that the recognition was very comic. Our poor laugher having
recovered his composure, Casanova, who had remained very serious, invited
me to dinner for the next day with my young friend Paul Gennaro, who had
already become my alter ego.

When we called at his house, my worthy cousin showed me his family tree,
beginning with a Don Francisco, brother of Don Juan. In my pedigree,
which I knew by heart, Don Juan, my direct ancestor, was a posthumous
child. It was possible that there might have been a brother of Marco
Antonio's; but when he heard that my genealogy began with Don Francisco,
from Aragon, who had lived in the fourteenth century, and that
consequently all the pedigree of the illustrious house of the Casanovas
of Saragossa belonged to him, his joy knew no bounds; he did not know
what to do to convince me that the same blood was flowing in his veins
and in mine.

He expressed some curiosity to know what lucky accident had brought me to
Naples; I told him that, having embraced the ecclesiastical profession, I
was going to Rome to seek my fortune. He then presented me to his family,
and I thought that I could read on the countenance of my cousin, his
dearly beloved wife, that she was not much pleased with the newly-found
relationship, but his pretty daughter, and a still prettier niece of his,
might very easily have given me faith in the doctrine that blood is
thicker than water, however fabulous it may be.

After dinner, Don Antonio informed me that the Duchess de Bovino had
expressed a wish to know the Abbe Casanova who had written the sonnet in
honour of her relative, and that he would be very happy to introduce me
to her as his own cousin. As we were alone at that moment, I begged he
would not insist on presenting me, as I was only provided with travelling
suits, and had to be careful of my purse so as not to arrive in Rome
without money. Delighted at my confidence, and approving my economy, he
said, "I am rich, and you must not scruple to come with me to my tailor;"
and he accompanied his offer with an assurance that the circumstance
would not be known to anyone, and that he would feel deeply mortified if
I denied him the pleasure of serving me. I shook him warmly by the hand,
and answered that I was ready to do anything he pleased. We went to a
tailor who took my measure, and who brought me on the following day
everything necessary to the toilet of the most elegant abbe. Don Antonio
called on me, and remained to dine with Don Gennaro, after which he took
me and my friend Paul to the duchess. This lady, according to the
Neapolitan fashion, called me thou in her very first compliment of
welcome. Her daughter, then only ten or twelve years old, was very
handsome, and a few years later became Duchess de Matalona. The duchess
presented me with a snuff-box in pale tortoise-shell with arabesque
incrustations in gold, and she invited us to dine with her on the morrow,
promising to take us after dinner to the Convent of St. Claire to pay a
visit to the new nun.

As we came out of the palace of the duchess, I left my friends and went
alone to Panagiotti's to claim the barrel of muscatel wine. The manager
was kind enough to have the barrel divided into two smaller casks of
equal capacity, and I sent one to Don Antonio, and the other to Don
Gennaro. As I was leaving the shop I met the worthy Panagiotti, who was
glad to see me. Was I to blush at the sight of the good man I had at
first deceived? No, for in his opinion I had acted very nobly towards
him.

Don Gennaro, as I returned home, managed to thank me for my handsome
present without laughing, and the next day Don Antonio, to make up for
the muscatel wine I had sent him, offered me a gold-headed cane, worth at
least fifteen ounces, and his tailor brought me a travelling suit and a
blue great coat, with the buttonholes in gold lace. I therefore found
myself splendidly equipped.

At the Duchess de Bovino's dinner I made the acquaintance of the wisest
and most learned man in Naples, the illustrious Don Lelio Caraffa, who
belonged to the ducal family of Matalona, and whom King Carlos honoured
with the title of friend.

I spent two delightful hours in the convent parlour, coping successfully
with the curiosity of all the nuns who were pressing against the grating.
Had destiny allowed me to remain in Naples my fortune would have been
made; but, although I had no fixed plan, the voice of fate summoned me to
Rome, and therefore I resisted all the entreaties of my cousin Antonio to
accept the honourable position of tutor in several houses of the highest
order.

Don Antonio gave a splendid dinner in my honour, but he was annoyed and
angry because he saw that his wife looked daggers at her new cousin. I
thought that, more than once, she cast a glance at my new costume, and
then whispered to the guest next to her. Very likely she knew what had
taken place. There are some positions in life to which I could never be
reconciled. If, in the most brilliant circle, there is one person who
affects to stare at me I lose all presence of mind. Self-dignity feels
outraged, my wit dies away, and I play the part of a dolt. It is a
weakness on my part, but a weakness I cannot overcome.

Don Lelio Caraffa offered me a very liberal salary if I would undertake
the education of his nephew, the Duke de Matalona, then ten years of age.
I expressed my gratitude, and begged him to be my true benefactor in a
different manner--namely, by giving me a few good letters of introduction
for Rome, a favour which he granted at once. He gave me one for Cardinal
Acquaviva, and another for Father Georgi.

I found out that the interest felt towards me by my friends had induced
them to obtain for me the honour of kissing the hand of Her Majesty the
Queen, and I hastened my preparations to leave Naples, for the queen
would certainly have asked me some questions, and I could not have
avoided telling her that I had just left Martorano and the poor bishop
whom she had sent there. The queen likewise knew my mother; she would
very likely have alluded to my mother's profession in Dresden; it would
have mortified Don Antonio, and my pedigree would have been covered with
ridicule. I knew the force of prejudice! I should have been ruined, and I
felt I should do well to withdraw in good time. As I took leave of him,
Don Antonio presented me with a fine gold watch and gave me a letter for
Don Gaspar Vidaldi, whom he called his best friend. Don Gennaro paid me
the sixty ducats, and his son, swearing eternal friendship, asked me to
write to him. They all accompanied me to the coach, blending their tears
with mine, and loading me with good wishes and blessings.

From my landing in Chiozza up to my arrival in Naples, fortune had seemed
bent upon frowning on me; in Naples it began to shew itself less adverse,
and on my return to that city it entirely smiled upon me. Naples has
always been a fortunate place for me, as the reader of my memoirs will
discover. My readers must not forget that in Portici I was on the point
of disgracing myself, and there is no remedy against the degradation of
the mind, for nothing can restore it to its former standard. It is a case
of disheartening atony for which there is no possible cure.

I was not ungrateful to the good Bishop of Martorano, for, if he had
unwittingly injured me by summoning me to his diocese, I felt that to his
letter for M. Gennaro I was indebted for all the good fortune which had
just befallen me. I wrote to him from Rome.

I was wholly engaged in drying my tears as we were driving through the
beautiful street of Toledo, and it was only after we had left Naples that
I could find time to examine the countenance of my travelling companions.
Next to me, I saw a man of from forty to fifty, with a pleasing face and
a lively air, but, opposite to me, two charming faces delighted my eyes.
They belonged to two ladies, young and pretty, very well dressed, with a
look of candour and modesty. This discovery was most agreeable, but I
felt sad and I wanted calm and silence. We reached Avessa without one
word being exchanged, and as the vetturino stopped there only to water
his mules, we did not get out of the coach. From Avessa to Capua my
companions conversed almost without interruption, and, wonderful to
relate! I did not open my lips once. I was amused by the Neapolitan
jargon of the gentleman, and by the pretty accent of the ladies, who were
evidently Romans. It was a most wonderful feat for me to remain five
hours before two charming women without addressing one word to them,
without paying them one compliment.

At Capua, where we were to spend the night, we put up at an inn, and were
shown into a room with two beds--a very usual thing in Italy. The
Neapolitan, addressing himself to me, said,

"Am I to have the honour of sleeping with the reverend gentleman?"

I answered in a very serious tone that it was for him to choose or to
arrange it otherwise, if he liked. The answer made the two ladies smile,
particularly the one whom I preferred, and it seemed to me a good omen.

We were five at supper, for it is usual for the vetturino to supply his
travellers with their meals, unless some private agreement is made
otherwise, and to sit down at table with them. In the desultory talk
which went on during the supper, I found in my travelling companions
decorum, propriety, wit, and the manners of persons accustomed to good
society. I became curious to know who they were, and going down with the
driver after supper, I asked him.

"The gentleman," he told me, "is an advocate, and one of the ladies is
his wife, but I do not know which of the two."

I went back to our room, and I was polite enough to go to bed first, in
order to make it easier for the ladies to undress themselves with
freedom; I likewise got up first in the morning, left the room, and only
returned when I was called for breakfast. The coffee was delicious. I
praised it highly, and the lady, the one who was my favourite, promised
that I should have the same every morning during our journey. The barber
came in after breakfast; the advocate was shaved, and the barber offered
me his services, which I declined, but the rogue declared that it was
slovenly to wear one's beard.

When we had resumed our seats in the coach, the advocate made some remark
upon the impudence of barbers in general.

"But we ought to decide first," said the lady, "whether or not it is
slovenly to go bearded."

"Of course it is," said the advocate. "Beard is nothing but a dirty
excrescence."

"You may think so," I answered, "but everybody does not share your
opinion. Do we consider as a dirty excrescence the hair of which we take
so much care, and which is of the same nature as the beard? Far from it;
we admire the length and the beauty of the hair."

"Then," remarked the lady, "the barber is a fool."

"But after all," I asked, "have I any beard?"

"I thought you had," she answered.

"In that case, I will begin to shave as soon as I reach Rome, for this is
the first time that I have been convicted of having a beard."

"My dear wife," exclaimed the advocate, "you should have held your
tongue; perhaps the reverend abbe is going to Rome with the intention of
becoming a Capuchin friar."

The pleasantry made me laugh, but, unwilling that he should have the last
word, I answered that he had guessed rightly, that such had been my
intention, but that I had entirely altered my mind since I had seen his
wife.

"Oh! you are wrong," said the joyous Neapolitan, "for my wife is very
fond of Capuchins, and if you wish to please her, you had better follow
your original vocation." Our conversation continued in the same tone of
pleasantry, and the day passed off in an agreeable manner; in the evening
we had a very poor supper at Garillan, but we made up for it by
cheerfulness and witty conversation. My dawning inclination for the
advocate's wife borrowed strength from the affectionate manner she
displayed towards me.

The next day she asked me, after we had resumed our journey, whether I
intended to make a long stay in Rome before returning to Venice. I
answered that, having no acquaintances in Rome, I was afraid my life
there would be very dull.

"Strangers are liked in Rome," she said, "I feel certain that you will be
pleased with your residence in that city."

"May I hope, madam, that you will allow me to pay you my respects?"

"We shall be honoured by your calling on us," said the advocate.

My eyes were fixed upon his charming wife. She blushed, but I did not
appear to notice it. I kept up the conversation, and the day passed as
pleasantly as the previous one. We stopped at Terracina, where they gave
us a room with three beds, two single beds and a large one between the
two others. It was natural that the two sisters should take the large
bed; they did so, and undressed themselves while the advocate and I went
on talking at the table, with our backs turned to them. As soon as they
had gone to rest, the advocate took the bed on which he found his
nightcap, and I the other, which was only about one foot distant from the
large bed. I remarked that the lady by whom I was captivated was on the
side nearest my couch, and, without much vanity, I could suppose that it
was not owing only to chance.

I put the light out and laid down, revolving in my mind a project which I
could not abandon, and yet durst not execute. In vain did I court sleep.
A very faint light enabled me to perceive the bed in which the pretty
woman was lying, and my eyes would, in spite of myself, remain open. It
would be difficult to guess what I might have done at last (I had already
fought a hard battle with myself for more than an hour), when I saw her
rise, get out of her bed, and go and lay herself down near her husband,
who, most likely, did not wake up, and continued to sleep in peace, for I
did not hear any noise.

Vexed, disgusted.... I tried to compose myself to sleep, and I woke only
at day-break. Seeing the beautiful wandering star in her own bed, I got
up, dressed myself in haste, and went out, leaving all my companions fast
asleep. I returned to the inn only at the time fixed for our departure,
and I found the advocate and the two ladies already in the coach, waiting
for me.

The lady complained, in a very obliging manner, of my not having cared
for her coffee; I pleaded as an excuse a desire for an early walk, and I
took care not to honour her even with a look; I feigned to be suffering
from the toothache, and remained in my corner dull and silent. At Piperno
she managed to whisper to me that my toothache was all sham; I was
pleased with the reproach, because it heralded an explanation which I
craved for, in spite of my vexation.

During the afternoon I continued my policy of the morning. I was morose
and silent until we reached Serinonetta, where we were to pass the night.
We arrived early, and the weather being fine, the lady said that she
could enjoy a walk, and asked me politely to offer her my arm. I did so,
for it would have been rude to refuse; besides I had had enough of my
sulking fit. An explanation could alone bring matters back to their
original standing, but I did not know how to force it upon the lady. Her
husband followed us at some distance with the sister.

When we were far enough in advance, I ventured to ask her why she had
supposed my toothache to have been feigned.

"I am very candid," she said; "it is because the difference in your
manner was so marked, and because you were so careful to avoid looking at
me through the whole day. A toothache would not have prevented you from
being polite, and therefore I thought it had been feigned for some
purpose. But I am certain that not one of us can possibly have given you
any grounds for such a rapid change in your manner."

"Yet something must have caused the change, and you, madam, are only half
sincere."

"You are mistaken, sir, I am entirely sincere; and if I have given you
any motive for anger, I am, and must remain, ignorant of it. Be good
enough to tell me what I have done."

"Nothing, for I have no right to complain."

"Yes, you have; you have a right, the same that I have myself; the right
which good society grants to every one of its members. Speak, and shew
yourself as sincere as I am."

"You are certainly bound not to know, or to pretend not to know the real
cause, but you must acknowledge that my duty is to remain silent."

"Very well; now it is all over; but if your duty bids you to conceal the
cause of your bad humour, it also bids you not to shew it. Delicacy
sometimes enforces upon a polite gentleman the necessity of concealing
certain feelings which might implicate either himself or others; it is a
restraint for the mind, I confess, but it has some advantage when its
effect is to render more amiable the man who forces himself to accept
that restraint." Her close argument made me blush for shame, and carrying
her beautiful hand to my lips, I confessed my self in the wrong.

"You would see me at your feet," I exclaimed, "in token of my repentance,
were I not afraid of injuring you---"

"Do not let us allude to the matter any more," she answered.

And, pleased with my repentance, she gave me a look so expressive of
forgiveness that, without being afraid of augmenting my guilt, I took my
lips off her hand and I raised them to her half-open, smiling mouth.
Intoxicated with rapture, I passed so rapidly from a state of sadness to
one of overwhelming cheerfulness that during our supper the advocate
enjoyed a thousand jokes upon my toothache, so quickly cured by the
simple remedy of a walk. On the following day we dined at Velletri and
slept in Marino, where, although the town was full of troops, we had two
small rooms and a good supper. I could not have been on better terms with
my charming Roman; for, although I had received but a rapid proof of her
regard, it had been such a true one--such a tender one! In the coach our
eyes could not say much; but I was opposite to her, and our feet spoke a
very eloquent language.

The advocate had told me that he was going to Rome on some ecclesiastical
business, and that he intended to reside in the house of his
mother-in-law, whom his wife had not seen since her marriage, two years
ago, and her sister hoped to remain in Rome, where she expected to marry
a clerk at the Spirito Santo Bank. He gave me their address, with a
pressing invitation to call upon them, and I promised to devote all my
spare time to them.

We were enjoying our dessert, when my beautiful lady-love, admiring my
snuff-box, told her husband that she wished she had one like it.

"I will buy you one, dear."

"Then buy mine," I said; "I will let you have it for twenty ounces, and
you can give me a note of hand payable to bearer in payment. I owe that
amount to an Englishman, and I will give it him to redeem my debt."

"Your snuff-box, my dear abbe, is worth twenty ounces, but I cannot buy
it unless you agree to receive payment in cash; I should be delighted to
see it in my wife's possession, and she would keep it as a remembrance of
you."

His wife, thinking that I would not accept his offer, said that she had
no objection to give me the note of hand.

"But," exclaimed the advocate, "can you not guess the Englishman exists
only in our friend's imagination? He would never enter an appearance, and
we would have the snuff-box for nothing. Do not trust the abbe, my dear,
he is a great cheat."

"I had no idea," answered his wife, looking at me, "that the world
contained rogues of this species."

I affected a melancholy air, and said that I only wished myself rich
enough to be often guilty of such cheating.

When a man is in love very little is enough to throw him into despair,
and as little to enhance his joy to the utmost. There was but one bed in
the room where supper had been served, and another in a small closet
leading out of the room, but without a door. The ladies chose the closet,
and the advocate retired to rest before me. I bid the ladies good night
as soon as they had gone to bed; I looked at my dear mistress, and after
undressing myself I went to bed, intending not to sleep through the
night. But the reader may imagine my rage when I found, as I got into the
bed, that it creaked loud enough to wake the dead. I waited, however,
quite motionless, until my companion should be fast asleep, and as soon
as his snoring told me that he was entirely under the influence of
Morpheus, I tried to slip out of the bed; but the infernal creaking which
took place whenever I moved, woke my companion, who felt about with his
hand, and, finding me near him, went to sleep again. Half an hour after,
I tried a second time, but with the same result. I had to give it up in
despair.

Love is the most cunning of gods; in the midst of obstacles he seems to
be in his own element, but as his very existence depends upon the
enjoyment of those who ardently worship him, the shrewd, all-seeing,
little blind god contrives to bring success out of the most desperate
case.

I had given up all hope for the night, and had nearly gone to sleep, when
suddenly we hear a dreadful noise. Guns are fired in the street, people,
screaming and howling, are running up and down the stairs; at last there
is a loud knocking at our door. The advocate, frightened out of his
slumbers, asks me what it can all mean; I pretend to be very indifferent,
and beg to be allowed to sleep. But the ladies are trembling with fear,
and loudly calling for a light. I remain very quiet, the advocate jumps
out of bed, and runs out of the room to obtain a candle; I rise at once,
I follow him to shut the door, but I slam it rather too hard, the double
spring of the lock gives way, and the door cannot be reopened without the
key.

I approach the ladies in order to calm their anxiety, telling them that
the advocate would soon return with a light, and that we should then know
the cause of the tumult, but I am not losing my time, and am at work
while I am speaking. I meet with very little opposition, but, leaning
rather too heavily upon my fair lady, I break through the bottom of the
bedstead, and we suddenly find ourselves, the two ladies and myself, all
together in a heap on the floor. The advocate comes back and knocks at
the door; the sister gets up, I obey the prayers of my charming friend,
and, feeling my way, reach the door, and tell the advocate that I cannot
open it, and that he must get the key. The two sisters are behind me. I
extend my hand; but I am abruptly repulsed, and judge that I have
addressed myself to the wrong quarter; I go to the other side, and there
I am better received. But the husband returns, the noise of the key in
the lock announces that the door is going to be opened, and we return to
our respective beds.

The advocate hurries to the bed of the two frightened ladies, thinking of
relieving their anxiety, but, when he sees them buried in their
broken-down bedstead, he bursts into a loud laugh. He tells me to come
and have a look at them, but I am very modest, and decline the
invitation. He then tells us that the alarm has been caused by a German
detachment attacking suddenly the Spanish troops in the city, and that
the Spaniards are running away. In a quarter of an hour the noise has
ceased, and quiet is entirely re-established.

The advocate complimented me upon my coolness, got into bed again, and
was soon asleep. As for me, I was careful not to close my eyes, and as
soon as I saw daylight I got up in order to perform certain ablutions and
to change my shirt; it was an absolute necessity.

I returned for breakfast, and while we were drinking the delicious coffee
which Donna Lucrezia had made, as I thought, better than ever, I remarked
that her sister frowned on me. But how little I cared for her anger when
I saw the cheerful, happy countenance, and the approving looks of my
adored Lucrezia! I felt a delightful sensation run through the whole of
my body.

We reached Rome very early. We had taken breakfast at the Tour, and the
advocate being in a very gay mood I assumed the same tone, loading him
with compliments, and predicting that a son would be born to him, I
compelled his wife to promise it should be so. I did not forget the
sister of my charming Lucrezia, and to make her change her hostile
attitude towards me I addressed to her so many pretty compliments, and
behaved in such a friendly manner, that she was compelled to forgive the
fall of the bed. As I took leave of them, I promised to give them a call
on the following day.

I was in Rome! with a good wardrobe, pretty well supplied with money and
jewellery, not wanting in experience, and with excellent letters of
introduction. I was free, my own master, and just reaching the age in
which a man can have faith in his own fortune, provided he is not
deficient in courage, and is blessed with a face likely to attract the
sympathy of those he mixes with. I was not handsome, but I had something
better than beauty--a striking expression which almost compelled a kind
interest in my favour, and I felt myself ready for anything. I knew that
Rome is the one city in which a man can begin from the lowest rung, and
reach the very top of the social ladder. This knowledge increased my
courage, and I must confess that a most inveterate feeling of self-esteem
which, on account of my inexperience, I could not distrust, enhanced
wonderfully my confidence in myself.

The man who intends to make his fortune in this ancient capital of the
world must be a chameleon susceptible of reflecting all the colours of
the atmosphere that surrounds him--a Proteus apt to assume every form,
every shape. He must be supple, flexible, insinuating; close,
inscrutable, often base, sometimes sincere, some times perfidious, always
concealing a part of his knowledge, indulging in one tone of voice,
patient, a perfect master of his own countenance as cold as ice when any
other man would be all fire; and if unfortunately he is not religious at
heart--a very common occurrence for a soul possessing the above
requisites--he must have religion in his mind, that is to say, on his
face, on his lips, in his manners; he must suffer quietly, if he be an
honest man the necessity of knowing himself an arrant hypocrite. The man
whose soul would loathe such a life should leave Rome and seek his
fortune elsewhere. I do not know whether I am praising or excusing
myself, but of all those qualities I possessed but one--namely,
flexibility; for the rest, I was only an interesting, heedless young
fellow, a pretty good blood horse, but not broken, or rather badly
broken; and that is much worse.

I began by delivering the letter I had received from Don Lelio for Father
Georgi. The learned monk enjoyed the esteem of everyone in Rome, and the
Pope himself had a great consideration for him, because he disliked the
Jesuits, and did not put a mask on to tear the mask from their faces,
although they deemed themselves powerful enough to despise him.

He read the letter with great attention, and expressed himself disposed
to be my adviser; and that consequently I might make him responsible for
any evil which might befall me, as misfortune is not to be feared by a
man who acts rightly. He asked me what I intended to do in Rome, and I
answered that I wished him to tell me what to do.

"Perhaps I may; but in that case you must come and see me often, and
never conceal from me anything, you understand, not anything, of what
interests you, or of what happens to you."

"Don Lelio has likewise given me a letter for the Cardinal Acquaviva."

"I congratulate you; the cardinal's influence in Rome is greater even
than that of the Pope."

"Must I deliver the letter at once?"

"No; I will see him this evening, and prepare him for your visit. Call on
me to-morrow morning, and I will then tell you where and when you are to
deliver your letter to the cardinal. Have you any money?"

"Enough for all my wants during one year."

"That is well. Have you any acquaintances?"

"Not one."

"Do not make any without first consulting me, and, above all, avoid
coffee-houses and ordinaries, but if you should happen to frequent such
places, listen and never speak. Be careful to form your judgment upon
those who ask any questions from you, and if common civility obliges you
to give an answer, give only an evasive one, if any other is likely to
commit you. Do you speak French?"

"Not one word."

"I am sorry for that; you must learn French. Have you been a student?"

"A poor one, but I have a sufficient smattering to converse with ordinary
company."

"That is enough; but be very prudent, for Rome is the city in which
smatterers unmask each other, and are always at war amongst themselves. I
hope you will take your letter to the cardinal, dressed like a modest
abbe, and not in this elegant costume which is not likely to conjure
fortune. Adieu, let me see you to-morrow."

Highly pleased with the welcome I had received at his hands, and with all
he had said to me, I left his house and proceeded towards Campo-di-Fiore
to deliver the letter of my cousin Antonio to Don Gaspar Vivaldi, who
received me in his library, where I met two respectable-looking priests.
He gave me the most friendly welcome, asked for my address, and invited
me to dinner for the next day. He praised Father Georgi most highly, and,
accompanying me as far as the stairs, he told me that he would give me on
the morrow the amount his friend Don Antonio requested him to hand me.

More money which my generous cousin was bestowing on me! It is easy
enough to give away when one possesses sufficient means to do it, but it
is not every man who knows how to give. I found the proceeding of Don
Antonio more delicate even than generous; I could not refuse his present;
it was my duty to prove my gratitude by accepting it.

Just after I had left M. Vivaldi's house I found myself face to face with
Stephano, and this extraordinary original loaded me with friendly
caresses. I inwardly despised him, yet I could not feel hatred for him; I
looked upon him as the instrument which Providence had been pleased to
employ in order to save me from ruin. After telling me that he had
obtained from the Pope all he wished, he advised me to avoid meeting the
fatal constable who had advanced me two sequins in Seraval, because he
had found out that I had deceived him, and had sworn revenge against me.
I asked Stephano to induce the man to leave my acknowledgement of the
debt in the hands of a certain merchant whom we both knew, and that I
would call there to discharge the amount. This was done, and it ended the
affair.

That evening I dined at the ordinary, which was frequented by Romans and
foreigners; but I carefully followed the advice of Father Georgi. I heard
a great deal of harsh language used against the Pope and against the
Cardinal Minister, who had caused the Papal States to be inundated by
eighty thousand men, Germans as well as Spaniards. But I was much
surprised when I saw that everybody was eating meat, although it was
Saturday. But a stranger during the first few days after his arrival in
Rome is surrounded with many things which at first cause surprise, and to
which he soon gets accustomed. There is not a Catholic city in the world
in which a man is half so free on religious matters as in Rome. The
inhabitants of Rome are like the men employed at the Government tobacco
works, who are allowed to take gratis as much tobacco as they want for
their own use. One can live in Rome with the most complete freedom,
except that the 'ordini santissimi' are as much to be dreaded as the
famous Lettres-de-cachet before the Revolution came and destroyed them,
and shewed the whole world the general character of the French nation.

The next day, the 1st of October, 1743, I made up my mind to be shaved.
The down on my chin had become a beard, and I judged that it was time to
renounce some of the privileges enjoyed by adolescence. I dressed myself
completely in the Roman fashion, and Father Georgi was highly pleased
when he saw me in that costume, which had been made by the tailor of my
dear cousin, Don Antonio.

Father Georgi invited me to take a cup of chocolate with him, and
informed me that the cardinal had been apprised of my arrival by a letter
from Don Lelio, and that his eminence would receive me at noon at the
Villa Negroni, where he would be taking a walk. I told Father Georgi that
I had been invited to dinner by M. Vivaldi, and he advised me to
cultivate his acquaintance.

I proceeded to the Villa Negroni; the moment he saw me the cardinal
stopped to receive my letter, allowing two persons who accompanied him to
walk forward. He put the letter in his pocket without reading it,
examined me for one or two minutes, and enquired whether I felt any taste
for politics. I answered that, until now, I had not felt in me any but
frivolous tastes, but that I would make bold to answer for my readiness
to execute all the orders which his eminence might be pleased to lay upon
me, if he should judge me worthy of entering his service.

"Come to my office to-morrow morning," said the cardinal, "and ask for
the Abbe Gama, to whom I will give my instructions. You must apply
yourself diligently to the study of the French language; it is
indispensable." He then enquired after Don Leilo's health, and after
kissing his hand I took my leave.

I hastened to the house of M. Gaspar Vivaldi, where I dined amongst a
well-chosen party of guests. M. Vivaldi was not married; literature was
his only passion. He loved Latin poetry even better than Italian, and
Horace, whom I knew by heart, was his favourite poet. After dinner, we
repaired to his study, and he handed me one hundred Roman crowns, and Don
Antonio's present, and assured me that I would be most welcome whenever I
would call to take a cup of chocolate with him.

After I had taken leave of Don Gaspar, I proceeded towards the Minerva,
for I longed to enjoy the surprise of my dear Lucrezia and of her sister;
I inquired for Donna Cecilia Monti, their mother, and I saw, to my great
astonishment, a young widow who looked like the sister of her two
charming daughters. There was no need for me to give her my name; I had
been announced, and she expected me. Her daughters soon came in, and
their greeting caused me some amusement, for I did not appear to them to
be the same individual. Donna Lucrezia presented me to her youngest
sister, only eleven years of age, and to her brother, an abbe of fifteen,
of charming appearance. I took care to behave so as to please the mother;
I was modest, respectful, and shewed a deep interest in everything I saw.
The good advocate arrived, and was surprised at the change in my
appearance. He launched out in his usual jokes, and I followed him on
that ground, yet I was careful not to give to my conversation the tone of
levity which used to cause so much mirth in our travelling coach; so
that, to, pay me a compliment, he told nee that, if I had had the sign of
manhood shaved from my face, I had certainly transferred it to my mind.
Donna Lucrezia did not know what to think of the change in my manners.

Towards evening I saw, coming in rapid succession, five or six
ordinary-looking ladies, and as many abbes, who appeared to me some of
the volumes with which I was to begin my Roman education. They all
listened attentively to the most insignificant word I uttered, and I was
very careful to let them enjoy their conjectures about me. Donna Cecilia
told the advocate that he was but a poor painter, and that his portraits
were not like the originals; he answered that she could not judge,
because the original was shewing under a mask, and I pretended to be
mortified by his answer. Donna Lucrezia said that she found me exactly
the same, and her sister was of opinion that the air of Rome gave
strangers a peculiar appearance. Everybody applauded, and Angelique
turned red with satisfaction. After a visit of four hours I bowed myself
out, and the advocate, following me, told me that his mother-in-law
begged me to consider myself as a friend of the family, and to be certain
of a welcome at any hour I liked to call. I thanked him gratefully and
took my leave, trusting that I had pleased this amiable society as much
as it had pleased me.

The next day I presented myself to the Abbe Gama. He was a Portuguese,
about forty years old, handsome, and with a countenance full of candour,
wit, and good temper. His affability claimed and obtained confidence. His
manners and accent were quite Roman. He informed me, in the blandest
manner, that his eminence had himself given his instructions about me to
his majordomo, that I would have a lodging in the cardinal's palace, that
I would have my meals at the secretaries' table, and that, until I
learned French, I would have nothing to do but make extracts from letters
that he would supply me with. He then gave me the address of the French
teacher to whom he had already spoken in my behalf. He was a Roman
advocate, Dalacqua by name, residing precisely opposite the palace.

After this short explanation, and an assurance that I could at all times
rely upon his friendship, he had me taken to the major-domo, who made me
sign my name at the bottom of a page in a large book, already filled with
other names, and counted out sixty Roman crowns which he paid me for
three months salary in advance. After this he accompanied me, followed by
a 'staffiere' to my apartment on the third floor, which I found very
comfortably furnished. The servant handed me the key, saying that he
would come every morning to attend upon me, and the major-domo
accompanied me to the gate to make me known to the gate-keeper. I
immediately repaired to my inn, sent my luggage to the palace, and found
myself established in a place in which a great fortune awaited me, if I
had only been able to lead a wise and prudent life, but unfortunately it
was not in my nature. 'Volentem ducit, nolentem trahit.'

I naturally felt it my duty to call upon my mentor, Father Georgi, to
whom I gave all my good news. He said I was on the right road, and that
my fortune was in my hands.

"Recollect," added the good father, "that to lead a blameless life you
must curb your passions, and that whatever misfortune may befall you it
cannot be ascribed by any one to a want of good luck, or attributed to
fate; those words are devoid of sense, and all the fault will rightly
fall on your own head."

"I foresee, reverend father, that my youth and my want of experience will
often make it necessary for me to disturb you. I am afraid of proving
myself too heavy a charge for you, but you will find me docile and
obedient."

"I suppose you will often think me rather too severe; but you are not
likely to confide everything to me."

"Everything, without any exception."

"Allow me to feel somewhat doubtful; you have not told me where you spent
four hours yesterday."

"Because I did not think it was worth mentioning. I made the acquaintance
of those persons during my journey; I believe them to be worthy and
respectable, and the right sort of people for me to visit, unless you
should be of a different opinion."

"God forbid! It is a very respectable house, frequented by honest people.
They are delighted at having made your acquaintance; you are much liked
by everybody, and they hope to retain you as a friend; I have heard all
about it this morning; but you must not go there too often and as a
regular guest."

"Must I cease my visits at once, and without cause?"

"No, it would be a want of politeness on your part. You may go there once
or twice every week, but do not be a constant visitor. You are sighing,
my son?"

"No, I assure you not. I will obey you."

"I hope it may not be only a matter of obedience, and I trust your heart
will not feel it a hardship, but, if necessary, your heart must be
conquered. Recollect that the heart is the greatest enemy of reason."

"Yet they can be made to agree."

"We often imagine so; but distrust the animism of your dear Horace. You
know that there is no middle course with it: 'nisi paret, imperat'."

"I know it, but in the family of which we were speaking there is no
danger for my heart."

"I am glad of it, because in that case it will be all the easier for you
to abstain from frequent visits. Remember that I shall trust you."

"And I, reverend father; will listen to and follow your good advice. I
will visit Donna Cecilia only now and then." Feeling most unhappy, I took
his hand to press it against my lips, but he folded me in his arms as a
father might have done, and turned himself round so as not to let me see
that he was weeping.

I dined at the cardinal's palace and sat near the Abbe Gama; the table
was laid for twelve persons, who all wore the costume of priests, for in
Rome everyone is a priest or wishes to be thought a priest and as there
is no law to forbid anyone to dress like an ecclesiastic that dress is
adopted by all those who wish to be respected (noblemen excepted) even if
they are not in the ecclesiastical profession.

I felt very miserable, and did not utter a word during the dinner; my
silence was construed into a proof of my sagacity. As we rose from the
table, the Abbe Gama invited me to spend the day with him, but I declined
under pretence of letters to be written, and I truly did so for seven
hours. I wrote to Don Lelio, to Don Antonio, to my young friend Paul, and
to the worthy Bishop of Martorano, who answered that he heartily wished
himself in my place.

Deeply enamoured of Lucrezia and happy in my love, to give her up
appeared to me a shameful action. In order to insure the happiness of my
future life, I was beginning to be the executioner of my present
felicity, and the tormentor of my heart. I revolted against such a
necessity which I judged fictitious, and which I could not admit unless I
stood guilty of vileness before the tribunal of my own reason. I thought
that Father Georgi, if he wished to forbid my visiting that family, ought
not to have said that it was worthy of respect; my sorrow would not have
been so intense. The day and the whole of the night were spent in painful
thoughts.

In the morning the Abbe Gama brought me a great book filled with
ministerial letters from which I was to compile for my amusement. After a
short time devoted to that occupation, I went out to take my first French
lesson, after which I walked towards the Strada-Condotta. I intended to
take a long walk, when I heard myself called by my name. I saw the Abbe
Gama in front of a coffee-house. I whispered to him that Minerva had
forbidden me the coffee-rooms of Rome. "Minerva," he answered, "desires
you to form some idea of such places. Sit down by me."

I heard a young abbe telling aloud, but without bitterness, a story,
which attacked in a most direct manner the justice of His Holiness.
Everybody was laughing and echoing the story. Another, being asked why he
had left the services of Cardinal B., answered that it was because his
eminence did not think himself called upon to pay him apart for certain
private services, and everybody laughed outright. Another came to the
Abbe Gama, and told him that, if he felt any inclination to spend the
afternoon at the Villa Medicis, he would find him there with two young
Roman girls who were satisfied with a 'quartino', a gold coin worth
one-fourth of a sequin. Another abbe read an incendiary sonnet against
the government, and several took a copy of it. Another read a satire of
his own composition, in which he tore to pieces the honour of a family.
In the middle of all that confusion, I saw a priest with a very
attractive countenance come in. The size of his hips made me take him for
a woman dressed in men's clothes, and I said so to Gama, who told me that
he was the celebrated castrato, Bepino delta Mamana. The abbe called him
to us, and told him with a laugh that I had taken him for a girl. The
impudent fellow looked me full in the face, and said that, if I liked, he
would shew me whether I had been right or wrong.

At the dinner-table everyone spoke to me, and I fancied I had given
proper answers to all, but, when the repast was over, the Abbe Gama
invited me to take coffee in his own apartment. The moment we were alone,
he told me that all the guests I had met were worthy and honest men, and
he asked me whether I believed that I had succeeded in pleasing the
company.

"I flatter myself I have," I answered.

"You are wrong," said the abbe, "you are flattering yourself. You have so
conspicuously avoided the questions put to you that everybody in the room
noticed your extreme reserve. In the future no one will ask you any
questions."

"I should be sorry if it should turn out so, but was I to expose my own
concerns?"

"No, but there is a medium in all things."

"Yes, the medium of Horace, but it is often a matter of great difficulty
to hit it exactly."

"A man ought to know how to obtain affection and esteem at the same
time."

"That is the very wish nearest to my heart."

"To-day you have tried for the esteem much more than for the affection of
your fellow-creatures. It may be a noble aspiration, but you must prepare
yourself to fight jealousy and her daughter, calumny; if those two
monsters do not succeed in destroying you, the victory must be yours.
Now, for instance, you thoroughly refuted Salicetti to-day. Well, he is a
physician, and what is more a Corsican; he must feel badly towards you."

"Could I grant that the longings of women during their pregnancy have no
influence whatever on the skin of the foetus, when I know the reverse to
be the case? Are you not of my opinion?"

"I am for neither party; I have seen many children with some such marks,
but I have no means of knowing with certainty whether those marks have
their origin in some longing experienced by the mother while she was
pregnant."

"But I can swear it is so."

"All the better for you if your conviction is based upon such evidence,
and all the worse for Salicetti if he denies the possibility of the thing
without certain authority. But let him remain in error; it is better thus
than to prove him in the wrong and to make a bitter enemy of him."

In the evening I called upon Lucrezia. The family knew my success, and
warmly congratulated me. Lucrezia told me that I looked sad, and I
answered that I was assisting at the funeral of my liberty, for I was no
longer my own master. Her husband, always fond of a joke, told her that I
was in love with her, and his mother-in-law advised him not to show so
much intrepidity. I only remained an hour with those charming persons,
and then took leave of them, but the very air around me was heated by the
flame within my breast. When I reached my room I began to write, and
spent the night in composing an ode which I sent the next day to the
advocate. I was certain that he would shew it to his wife, who loved
poetry, and who did not yet know that I was a poet. I abstained from
seeing her again for three or four days. I was learning French, and
making extracts from ministerial letters.

His eminence was in the habit of receiving every evening, and his rooms
were thronged with the highest nobility of Rome; I had never attended
these receptions. The Abbe Gama told me that I ought to do so as well as
he did, without any pretension. I followed his advice and went; nobody
spoke to me, but as I was unknown everyone looked at me and enquired who
I was. The Abbe Gama asked me which was the lady who appeared to me the
most amiable, and I shewed one to him; but I regretted having done so,
for the courtier went to her, and of course informed her of what I had
said. Soon afterwards I saw her look at me through her eye-glass and
smile kindly upon me. She was the Marchioness G----, whose 'cicisbeo' was
Cardinal S---- C----.

On the very day I had fixed to spend the evening with Donna Lucrezia the
worthy advocate called upon me. He told me that if I thought I was going
to prove I was not in love with his wife by staying away I was very much
mistaken, and he invited me to accompany all the family to Testaccio,
where they intended to have luncheon on the following Thursday. He added
that his wife knew my ode by heart, and that she had read it to the
intended husband of Angelique, who had a great wish to make my
acquaintance. That gentleman was likewise a poet, and would be one of the
party to Testaccio. I promised the advocate I would come to his house on
the Thursday with a carriage for two.

At that time every Thursday in the month of October was a festival day in
Rome. I went to see Donna Cecilia in the evening, and we talked about the
excursion the whole time. I felt certain that Donna Lucrezia looked
forward to it with as much pleasure as I did myself. We had no fixed
plan, we could not have any, but we trusted to the god of love, and
tacitly placed our confidence in his protection.

I took care that Father Georgi should not hear of that excursion before I
mentioned it to him myself, and I hastened to him in order to obtain his
permission to go. I confess that, to obtain his leave, I professed the
most complete indifference about it, and the consequence was that the
good man insisted upon my going, saying that it was a family party, and
that it was quite right for me to visit the environs of Rome and to enjoy
myself in a respectable way.

I went to Donna Cecilia's in a carriage which I hired from a certain
Roland, a native of Avignon, and if I insist here upon his name it is
because my readers will meet him again in eighteen years, his
acquaintance with me having had very important results. The charming
widow introduced me to Don Francisco, her intended son-in-law, whom she
represented as a great friend of literary men, and very deeply learned
himself. I accepted it as gospel, and behaved accordingly; yet I thought
he looked rather heavy and not sufficiently elated for a young man on the
point of marrying such a pretty girl as Angelique. But he had plenty of
good-nature and plenty of money, and these are better than learning and
gallantry.

As we were ready to get into the carriages, the advocate told me that he
would ride with me in my carriage, and that the three ladies would go
with Don Francisco in the other. I answered at once that he ought to keep
Don Francisco company, and that I claimed the privilege of taking care of
Donna Cecilia, adding that I should feel dishonoured if things were
arranged differently. Thereupon I offered my arm to the handsome widow,
who thought the arrangement according to the rules of etiquette and good
breeding, and an approving look of my Lucrezia gave me the most agreeable
sensation. Yet the proposal of the advocate struck me somewhat
unpleasantly, because it was in contradiction with his former behaviour,
and especially with what he had said to me in my room a few days before.
"Has he become jealous?" I said to myself; that would have made me almost
angry, but the hope of bringing him round during our stay at Testaccio
cleared away the dark cloud on my mind, and I was very amiable to Donna
Cecilia. What with lunching and walking we contrived to pass the
afternoon very pleasantly; I was very gay, and my love for Lucrezia was
not once mentioned; I was all attention to her mother. I occasionally
addressed myself to Lucrezia, but not once to the advocate, feeling this
the best way to shew him that he had insulted me.

As we prepared to return, the advocate carried off Donna Cecilia and went
with her to the carriage in which were already seated Angelique and Don
Francisco. Scarcely able to control my delight, I offered my arm to Donna
Lucrezia, paying her some absurd compliment, while the advocate laughed
outright, and seemed to enjoy the trick he imagined he had played me.

How many things we might have said to each other before giving ourselves
up to the material enjoyment of our love, had not the instants been so
precious! But, aware that we had only half an hour before us, we were
sparing of the minutes. We were absorbed in voluptuous pleasure when
suddenly Lucrezia exclaims,---

"Oh! dear, how unhappy we are!"

She pushes me back, composes herself, the carriage stops, and the servant
opens the door. "What is the matter?" I enquire. "We are at home."
Whenever I recollect the circumstance, it seems to me fabulous, for it is
not possible to annihilate time, and the horses were regular old screws.
But we were lucky all through. The night was dark, and my beloved angel
happened to be on the right side to get out of the carriage first, so
that, although the advocate was at the door of the brougham as soon as
the footman, everything went right, owing to the slow manner in which
Lucrezia alighted. I remained at Donna Cecilia's until midnight.

When I got home again, I went to bed; but how could I sleep? I felt
burning in me the flame which I had not been able to restore to its
original source in the too short distance from Testaccio to Rome. It was
consuming me. Oh! unhappy are those who believe that the pleasures of
Cythera are worth having, unless they are enjoyed in the most perfect
accord by two hearts overflowing with love!

I only rose in time for my French lesson. My teacher had a pretty
daughter, named Barbara, who was always present during my lessons, and
who sometimes taught me herself with even more exactitude than her
father. A good-looking young man, who likewise took lessons, was courting
her, and I soon perceived that she loved him. This young man called often
upon me, and I liked him, especially on account of his reserve, for,
although I made him confess his love for Barbara, he always changed the
subject, if I mentioned it in our conversation.

I had made up my mind to respect his reserve, and had not alluded to his
affection for several days. But all at once I remarked that he had ceased
his visits both to me and to his teacher, and at the same time I observed
that the young girl was no longer present at my lessons; I felt some
curiosity to know what had happened, although it was not, after all, any
concern of mine.

A few days after, as I was returning from church, I met the young man,
and reproached him for keeping away from us all. He told me that great
sorrow had befallen him, which had fairly turned his brain, and that he
was a prey to the most intense despair. His eyes were wet with tears. As
I was leaving him, he held me back, and I told him that I would no longer
be his friend unless he opened his heart to me. He took me to one of the
cloisters, and he spoke thus:

"I have loved Barbara for the last six months, and for three months she
has given me indisputable proofs of her affection. Five days ago, we were
betrayed by the servant, and the father caught us in a rather delicate
position. He left the room without saying one word, and I followed him,
thinking of throwing myself at his feet; but, as I appeared before him,
he took hold of me by the arm, pushed me roughly to the door, and forbade
me ever to present myself again at his house. I cannot claim her hand in
marriage, because one of my brothers is married, and my father is not
rich; I have no profession, and my mistress has nothing. Alas, now that I
have confessed all to you, tell me, I entreat you, how she is. I am
certain that she is as miserable as I am myself. I cannot manage to get a
letter delivered to her, for she does not leave the house, even to attend
church. Unhappy wretch! What shall I do?"

I could but pity him, for, as a man of honour, it was impossible for me
to interfere in such a business. I told him that I had not seen Barbara
for five days, and, not knowing what to say, I gave him the advice which
is tendered by all fools under similar circumstances; I advised him to
forget his mistress.

We had then reached the quay of Ripetta, and, observing that he was
casting dark looks towards the Tiber, I feared his despair might lead him
to commit some foolish attempt against his own life, and, in order to
calm his excited feelings, I promised to make some enquiries from the
father about his mistress, and to inform him of all I heard. He felt
quieted by my promise, and entreated me not to forget him.

In spite of the fire which had been raging through my veins ever since
the excursion to Testaccio, I had not seen my Lucrezia for four days. I
dreaded Father Georgi's suave manner, and I was still more afraid of
finding he had made up his mind to give me no more advice. But, unable to
resist my desires, I called upon Lucrezia after my French lesson, and
found her alone, sad and dispirited.

"Ah!" she exclaimed, as soon as I was by her side, "I think you might
find time to come and see me!"

"My beloved one, it is not that I cannot find time, but I am so jealous
of my love that I would rather die than let it be known publicly. I have
been thinking of inviting you all to dine with me at Frascati. I will
send you a phaeton, and I trust that some lucky accident will smile upon
our love."

"Oh! yes, do, dearest! I am sure your invitation will be accepted:"

In a quarter of an hour the rest of the family came in, and I proffered
my invitation for the following Sunday, which happened to be the Festival
of St. Ursula, patroness of Lucrezia's youngest sister. I begged Donna
Cecilia to bring her as well as her son. My proposal being readily
accepted, I gave notice that the phaeton would be at Donna Cecilia's door
at seven o'clock, and that I would come myself with a carriage for two
persons.

The next day I went to M. Dalacqua, and, after my lesson, I saw Barbara
who, passing from one room to another, dropped a paper and earnestly
looked at me. I felt bound to pick it up, because a servant, who was at
hand, might have seen it and taken it. It was a letter, enclosing another
addressed to her lover. The note for me ran thus: "If you think it to be
a sin to deliver the enclosed to your friend, burn it. Have pity on an
unfortunate girl, and be discreet."

The enclosed letter which was unsealed, ran as follows: "If you love me
as deeply as 'I love you, you cannot hope to be happy without me; we
cannot correspond in any other way than the one I am bold enough to
adopt. I am ready to do anything to unite our lives until death. Consider
and decide."

The cruel situation of the poor girl moved me almost to tears; yet I
determined to return her letter the next day, and I enclosed it in a note
in which I begged her to excuse me if I could not render her the service
she required at my hands. I put it in my pocket ready for delivery. The
next day I went for my lesson as usual, but, not seeing Barbara, I had no
opportunity of returning her letter, and postponed its delivery to the
following day. Unfortunately, just after I had returned to my room, the
unhappy lover made his appearance. His eyes were red from weeping, his
voice hoarse; he drew such a vivid picture of his misery, that, dreading
some mad action counselled by despair, I could not withhold from him the
consolation which I knew it was in my power to give. This was my first
error in this fatal business; I was the victim of my own kindness.

The poor fellow read the letter over and over; he kissed it with
transports of joy; he wept, hugged me, and thanked me for saving his
life, and finally entreated me to take charge of his answer, as his
beloved mistress must be longing for consolation as much as he had been
himself, assuring me that his letter could not in any way implicate me,
and that I was at liberty to read it.

And truly, although very long, his letter contained nothing but the
assurance of everlasting love, and hopes which could not be realized. Yet
I was wrong to accept the character of Mercury to the two young lovers.
To refuse, I had only to recollect that Father Georgi would certainly
have disapproved of my easy compliance.

The next day I found M. Dalacqua ill in bed; his daughter gave me my
lesson in his room, and I thought that perhaps she had obtained her
pardon. I contrived to give her her lover's letter, which she dextrously
conveyed to her pocket, but her blushes would have easily betrayed her if
her father had been looking that way. After the lesson I gave M. Dalacqua
notice that I would not come on the morrow, as it was the Festival of St.
Ursula, one of the eleven thousand princesses and martyr-virgins.

In the evening, at the reception of his eminence, which I attended
regularly, although persons of distinction seldom spoke to me, the
cardinal beckoned to me. He was speaking to the beautiful Marchioness
G----, to whom Gama had indiscreetly confided that I thought her the
handsomest woman amongst his eminence's guests.

"Her grace," said the Cardinal, "wishes to know whether you are making
rapid progress in the French language, which she speaks admirably."

I answered in Italian that I had learned a great deal, but that I was not
yet bold enough to speak.

"You should be bold," said the marchioness, "but without showing any
pretension. It is the best way to disarm criticism."

My mind having almost unwittingly lent to the words "You should be bold"
a meaning which had very likely been far from the idea of the
marchioness, I turned very red, and the handsome speaker, observing it,
changed the conversation and dismissed me.

The next morning, at seven o'clock, I was at Donna Cecilia's door. The
phaeton was there as well as the carriage for two persons, which this
time was an elegant vis-a-vis, so light and well-hung that Donna Cecilia
praised it highly when she took her seat.

"I shall have my turn as we return to Rome," said Lucrezia; and I bowed
to her as if in acceptance of her promise.

Lucrezia thus set suspicion at defiance in order to prevent suspicion
arising. My happiness was assured, and I gave way to my natural flow of
spirits. I ordered a splendid dinner, and we all set out towards the
Villa Ludovisi. As we might have missed each other during our ramblings,
we agreed to meet again at the inn at one o'clock. The discreet widow
took the arm of her son-in-law, Angelique remained with her sister, and
Lucrezia was my delightful share; Ursula and her brother were running
about together, and in less than a quarter of an hour I had Lucrezia
entirely to myself.

"Did you remark," she said, "with what candour I secured for us two hours
of delightful 'tete-a-tete', and a 'tete-a-tete' in a 'vis-a-vis', too!
How clever Love is!"

"Yes, darling, Love has made but one of our two souls. I adore you, and
if I have the courage to pass so many days without seeing you it is in
order to be rewarded by the freedom of one single day like this."

"I did not think it possible. But you have managed it all very well. You
know too much for your age, dearest."

"A month ago, my beloved, I was but an ignorant child, and you are the
first woman who has initiated me into the mysteries of love. Your
departure will kill me, for I could not find another woman like you in
all Italy."

"What! am I your first love? Alas! you will never be cured of it. Oh! why
am I not entirely your own? You are also the first true love of my heart,
and you will be the last. How great will be the happiness of my
successor! I should not be jealous of her, but what suffering would be
mine if I thought that her heart was not like mine!"

Lucrezia, seeing my eyes wet with tears, began to give way to her own,
and, seating ourselves on the grass, our lips drank our tears amidst the
sweetest kisses. How sweet is the nectar of the tears shed by love, when
that nectar is relished amidst the raptures of mutual ardour! I have
often tasted them--those delicious tears, and I can say knowingly that
the ancient physicians were right, and that the modern are wrong.

In a moment of calm, seeing the disorder in which we both were, I told
her that we might be surprised.

"Do not fear, my best beloved," she said, "we are under the guardianship
of our good angels."

We were resting and reviving our strength by gazing into one another's
eyes, when suddenly Lucrezia, casting a glance to the right, exclaimed,

"Look there! idol of my heart, have I not told you so? Yes, the angels
are watching over us! Ah! how he stares at us! He seems to try to give us
confidence. Look at that little demon; admire him! He must certainly be
your guardian spirit or mine."

I thought she was delirious.

"What are you saying, dearest? I do not understand you. What am I to
admire?"

"Do you not see that beautiful serpent with the blazing skin, which lifts
its head and seems to worship us?"

I looked in the direction she indicated, and saw a serpent with
changeable colours about three feet in length, which did seem to be
looking at us. I was not particularly pleased at the sight, but I could
not show myself less courageous than she was.

"What!" said I, "are you not afraid?"

"I tell you, again, that the sight is delightful to me, and I feel
certain that it is a spirit with nothing but the shape, or rather the
appearance, of a serpent."

"And if the spirit came gliding along the grass and hissed at you?"

"I would hold you tighter against my bosom, and set him at defiance. In
your arms Lucrezia is safe. Look! the spirit is going away. Quick, quick!
He is warning us of the approach of some profane person, and tells us to
seek some other retreat to renew our pleasures. Let us go."

We rose and slowly advanced towards Donna Cecilia and the advocate, who
were just emerging from a neighbouring alley. Without avoiding them, and
without hurrying, just as if to meet one another was a very natural
occurrence, I enquired of Donna Cecilia whether her daughter had any fear
of serpents.

"In spite of all her strength of mind," she answered, "she is dreadfully
afraid of thunder, and she will scream with terror at the sight of the
smallest snake. There are some here, but she need not be frightened, for
they are not venomous."

I was speechless with astonishment, for I discovered that I had just
witnessed a wonderful love miracle. At that moment the children came up,
and, without ceremony, we again parted company.

"Tell me, wonderful being, bewitching woman, what would you have done if,
instead of your pretty serpent, you had seen your husband and your
mother?"

"Nothing. Do you not know that, in moments of such rapture, lovers see
and feel nothing but love? Do you doubt having possessed me wholly,
entirely?"

Lucrezia, in speaking thus, was not composing a poetical ode; she was not
feigning fictitious sentiments; her looks, the sound of her voice, were
truth itself!

"Are you certain," I enquired, "that we are not suspected?"

"My husband does not believe us to be in love with each other, or else he
does not mind such trifling pleasures as youth is generally wont to
indulge in. My mother is a clever woman, and perhaps she suspects the
truth, but she is aware that it is no longer any concern of hers. As to
my sister, she must know everything, for she cannot have forgotten the
broken-down bed; but she is prudent, and besides, she has taken it into
her head to pity me. She has no conception of the nature of my feelings
towards you. If I had not met you, my beloved, I should probably have
gone through life without realizing such feelings myself; for what I feel
for my husband.... well, I have for him the obedience which my position
as a wife imposes upon me."

"And yet he is most happy, and I envy him! He can clasp in his arms all
your lovely person whenever he likes! There is no hateful veil to hide
any of your charms from his gaze."

"Oh! where art thou, my dear serpent? Come to us, come and protect us
against the surprise of the uninitiated, and this very instant I fulfil
all the wishes of him I adore!"

We passed the morning in repeating that we loved each other, and in
exchanging over and over again substantial proofs of our mutual passion.

We had a delicious dinner, during which I was all attention for the
amiable Donna Cecilia. My pretty tortoise-shell box, filled with
excellent snuff, went more than once round the table. As it happened to
be in the hands of Lucrezia who was sitting on my left, her husband told
her that, if I had no objection, she might give me her ring and keep the
snuff-box in exchange. Thinking that the ring was not of as much value as
my box, I immediately accepted, but I found the ring of greater value.
Lucrezia would not, however, listen to anything on that subject. She put
the box in her pocket, and thus compelled me to keep her ring.

Dessert was nearly over, the conversation was very animated, when
suddenly the intended husband of Angelique claimed our attention for the
reading of a sonnet which he had composed and dedicated to me. I thanked
him, and placing the sonnet in my pocket promised to write one for him.
This was not, however, what he wished; he expected that, stimulated by
emulation, I would call for paper and pen, and sacrifice to Apollo hours
which it was much more to my taste to employ in worshipping another god
whom his cold nature knew only by name. We drank coffee, I paid the bill,
and we went about rambling through the labyrinthine alleys of the Villa
Aldobrandini.

What sweet recollections that villa has left in my memory! It seemed as
if I saw my divine Lucrezia for the first time. Our looks were full of
ardent love, our hearts were beating in concert with the most tender
impatience, and a natural instinct was leading us towards a solitary
asylum which the hand of Love seemed to have prepared on purpose for the
mysteries of its secret worship. There, in the middle of a long avenue,
and under a canopy of thick foliage, we found a wide sofa made of grass,
and sheltered by a deep thicket; from that place our eyes could range
over an immense plain, and view the avenue to such a distance right and
left that we were perfectly secure against any surprise. We did not
require to exchange one word at the sight of this beautiful temple so
favourable to our love; our hearts spoke the same language.

Without a word being spoken, our ready hands soon managed to get rid of
all obstacles, and to expose in a state of nature all the beauties which
are generally veiled by troublesome wearing apparel. Two whole hours were
devoted to the most delightful, loving ecstasies. At last we exclaimed
together in mutual ecstasy, "O Love, we thank thee!"

We slowly retraced our steps towards the carriages, revelling in our
intense happiness. Lucrezia informed me that Angelique's suitor was
wealthy, that he owned a splendid villa at Tivoli, and that most likely
he would invite us all to dine and pass the night there. "I pray the god
of love," she added, "to grant us a night as beautiful as this day has
been." Then, looking sad, she said, "But alas! the ecclesiastical lawsuit
which has brought my husband to Rome is progressing so favourably that I
am mortally afraid he will obtain judgment all too soon."

The journey back to the city lasted two hours; we were alone in my
vis-a-vis and we overtaxed nature, exacting more than it can possibly
give. As we were getting near Rome we were compelled to let the curtain
fall before the denouement of the drama which we had performed to the
complete satisfaction of the actors.

I returned home rather fatigued, but the sound sleep which was so natural
at my age restored my full vigour, and in the morning I took my French
lesson at the usual hour.




CHAPTER X

     Benedict XIV--Excursion to Tivoli--Departure of Lucrezia--
     The Marchioness G.--Barbara Dalacqua--My Misfortunes--
     I Leave Rome

M. Dalacqua being very ill, his daughter Barbara gave me my lesson. When
it was over, she seized an opportunity of slipping a letter into my
pocket, and immediately disappeared, so that I had no chance of refusing.
The letter was addressed to me, and expressed feelings of the warmest
gratitude. She only desired me to inform her lover that her father had
spoken to her again, and that most likely he would engage a new servant
as soon as he had recovered from his illness, and she concluded her
letter by assuring me that she never would implicate me in this business.

Her father was compelled to keep his bed for a fortnight, and Barbara
continued to give me my lesson every day. I felt for her an interest
which, from me towards a young and pretty girl, was, indeed, quite a new
sentiment. It was a feeling of pity, and I was proud of being able to
help and comfort her. Her eyes never rested upon mine, her hand never met
mine, I never saw in her toilet the slightest wish to please me. She was
very pretty, and I knew she had a tender, loving nature; but nothing
interfered with the respect and the regard which I was bound in honour
and in good faith to feel towards her, and I was proud to remark that she
never thought me capable of taking advantage of her weakness or of her
position.

When the father had recovered he dismissed his servant and engaged
another. Barbara entreated me to inform her friend of the circumstance,
and likewise of her hope to gain the new servant to their interests, at
least sufficiently to secure the possibility of carrying on some
correspondence. I promised to do so, and as a mark of her gratitude she
took my hand to carry it to her lips, but quickly withdrawing it I tried
to kiss her; she turned her face away, blushing deeply. I was much
pleased with her modesty.

Barbara having succeeded in gaining the new servant over, I had nothing
more to do with the intrigue, and I was very glad of it, for I knew my
interference might have brought evil on my own head. Unfortunately, it
was already too late.

I seldom visited Don Gaspar; the study of the French language took up all
my mornings, and it was only in the morning that I could see him; but I
called every evening upon Father Georgi, and, although I went to him only
as one of his 'proteges', it gave me some reputation. I seldom spoke
before his guests, yet I never felt weary, for in his circle his friends
would criticise without slandering, discuss politics without
stubbornness, literature without passion, and I profited by all. After my
visit to the sagacious monk, I used to attend the assembly of the
cardinal, my master, as a matter of duty. Almost every evening, when she
happened to see me at her card-table, the beautiful marchioness would
address to me a few gracious words in French, and I always answered in
Italian, not caring to make her laugh before so many persons. My feelings
for her were of a singular kind. I must leave them to the analysis of the
reader. I thought that woman charming, yet I avoided her; it was not
because I was afraid of falling in love with her; I loved Lucrezia, and I
firmly believed that such an affection was a shield against any other
attachment, but it was because I feared that she might love me or have a
passing fancy for me. Was it self-conceit or modesty, vice or virtue?
Perhaps neither one nor the other.

One evening she desired the Abbe Gama to call me to her; she was standing
near the cardinal, my patron, and the moment I approached her she caused
me a strange feeling of surprise by asking me in Italian a question which
I was far from anticipating:

"How did you like Frascati?"

"Very much, madam; I have never seen such a beautiful place."

"But your company was still more beautiful, and your vis-a-vis was very
smart."

I only bowed low to the marchioness, and a moment after Cardinal
Acquaviva said to me, kindly,

"You are astonished at your adventure being known?"

"No, my lord; but I am surprised that people should talk of it. I could
not have believed Rome to be so much like a small village."

"The longer you live in Rome," said his eminence, "the more you will find
it so. You have not yet presented yourself to kiss the foot of our Holy
Father?"

"Not yet, my lord."

"Then you must do so."

I bowed in compliance to his wishes.

The Abbe Gama told me to present myself to the Pope on the morrow, and he
added,

"Of course you have already shewn yourself in the Marchioness G.'s
palace?"

"No, I have never been there."

"You astonish me; but she often speaks to you!"

"I have no objection to go with you."

"I never visit at her palace."

"Yet she speaks to you likewise."

"Yes, but.... You do not know Rome; go alone; believe me, you ought to
go."

"Will she receive me?"

"You are joking, I suppose. Of course it is out of the question for you
to be announced. You will call when the doors are wide open to everybody.
You will meet there all those who pay homage to her."

"Will she see me?"

"No doubt of it."

On the following day I proceeded to Monte-Cavallo, and I was at once led
into the room where the Pope was alone. I threw myself on my knees and
kissed the holy cross on his most holy slipper. The Pope enquiring who I
was, I told him, and he answered that he knew me, congratulating me upon
my being in the service of so eminent a cardinal. He asked me how I had
succeeded in gaining the cardinal's favour; I answered with a faithful
recital of my adventures from my arrival at Martorano. He laughed
heartily at all I said respecting the poor and worthy bishop, and
remarked that, instead of trying to address him in Tuscan, I could speak
in the Venetian dialect, as he was himself speaking to me in the dialect
of Bologna. I felt quite at my ease with him, and I told him so much news
and amused him so well that the Holy Father kindly said that he would be
glad to see me whenever I presented myself at Monte-Cavallo. I begged his
permission to read all forbidden books, and he granted it with his
blessing, saying that I should have the permission in writing, but he
forgot it.

Benedict XIV, was a learned man, very amiable, and fond of a joke. I saw
him for the second time at the Villa Medicis. He called me to him, and
continued his walk, speaking of trifling things. He was then accompanied
by Cardinal Albani and the ambassador from Venice. A man of modest
appearance approached His Holiness, who asked what he required; the man
said a few words in a low voice, and, after listening to him, the Pope
answered, "You are right, place your trust in God;" and he gave him his
blessing. The poor fellow went away very dejected, and the Holy Father
continued his walk.

"This man," I said, "most Holy Father, has not been pleased with the
answer of Your Holiness."

"Why?"

"Because most likely he had already addressed himself to God before he
ventured to apply to you; and when Your Holiness sends him to God again,
he finds himself sent back, as the proverb says, from Herod to Pilate."

The Pope, as well as his two companions, laughed heartily; but I kept a
serious countenance.

"I cannot," continued the Pope, "do any good without God's assistance."

"Very true, Holy Father; but the man is aware that you are God's prime
minister, and it is easy to imagine his trouble now that the minister
sends him again to the master. His only resource is to give money to the
beggars of Rome, who for one 'bajocco' will pray for him. They boast of
their influence before the throne of the Almighty, but as I have faith
only in your credit, I entreat Your Holiness to deliver me of the heat
which inflames my eyes by granting me permission to eat meat."

"Eat meat, my son."

"Holy Father, give me your blessing."

He blessed me, adding that I was not dispensed from fasting.

That very evening, at the cardinal's assembly, I found that the news of
my dialogue with the Pope was already known. Everybody was anxious to
speak to me. I felt flattered, but I was much more delighted at the joy
which Cardinal Acquaviva tried in vain to conceal.

As I wished not to neglect Gama's advice, I presented myself at the
mansion of the beautiful marchioness at the hour at which everyone had
free access to her ladyship. I saw her, I saw the cardinal and a great
many abbes; but I might have supposed myself invisible, for no one
honoured me with a look, and no one spoke to me. I left after having
performed for half an hour the character of a mute. Five or six days
afterwards, the marchioness told me graciously that she had caught a
sight of me in her reception-rooms.

"I was there, it is true, madam; but I had no idea that I had had the
honour to be seen by your ladyship."

"Oh! I see everybody. They tell me that you have wit."

"If it is not a mistake on the part of your informants, your ladyship
gives me very good news."

"Oh! they are excellent judges."

"Then, madam, those persons must have honoured me with their
conversation; otherwise, it is not likely that they would have been able
to express such an opinion."

"No doubt; but let me see you often at my receptions."

Our conversation had been overheard by those who were around; his
excellency the cardinal told me that, when the marchioness addressed
herself particularly to me in French, my duty was to answer her in the
same language, good or bad. The cunning politician Gama took me apart,
and remarked that my repartees were too smart, too cutting, and that,
after a time, I would be sure to displease. I had made considerable
progress in French; I had given up my lessons, and practice was all I
required. I was then in the habit of calling sometimes upon Lucrezia in
the morning, and of visiting in the evening Father Georgi, who was
acquainted with the excursion to Frascati, and had not expressed any
dissatisfaction.

Two days after the sort of command laid upon me by the marchioness, I
presented myself at her reception. As soon as she saw me, she favoured me
with a smile which I acknowledged by a deep reverence; that was all. In a
quarter of an hour afterwards I left the mansion. The marchioness was
beautiful, but she was powerful, and I could not make up my mind to crawl
at the feet of power, and, on that head, I felt disgusted with the
manners of the Romans.

One morning towards the end of November the advocate, accompanied by
Angelique's intended, called on me. The latter gave me a pressing
invitation to spend twenty-four hours at Tivoli with the friends I had
entertained at Frascati. I accepted with great pleasure, for I had found
no opportunity of being alone with Lucrezia since the Festival of St.
Ursula. I promised to be at Donna Cecilia's house at day-break with the
same 'is-a-vis'. It was necessary to start very early, because Tivoli is
sixteen miles from Rome, and has so many objects of interest that it
requires many hours to see them all. As I had to sleep out that night, I
craved permission to do so from the cardinal himself, who, hearing with
whom I was going, told me that I was quite right not to lose such an
opportunity of visiting that splendid place in such good society.

The first dawn of day found me with my 'vis-a-vis' and four at the door
of Donna Cecilia, who came with me as before. The charming widow,
notwithstanding her strict morality, was delighted at my love for her
daughter. The family rode in a large phaeton hired by Don Francisco,
which gave room for six persons.

At half-past seven in the morning we made a halt at a small place where
had been prepared, by Don Franciso's orders, an excellent breakfast,
which was intended to replace the dinner, and we all made a hearty meal,
as we were not likely to find time for anything but supper at Tivoli. I
wore on my finger the beautiful ring which Lucrezia had given me. At the
back of the ring I had had a piece of enamel placed, on it was delineated
a saduceus, with one serpent between the letters Alpha and Omega. This
ring was the subject of conversation during breakfast, and Don Francisco,
as well as the advocate, exerted himself in vain to guess the meaning of
the hieroglyphs; much to the amusement of Lucrezia, who understood the
mysterious secret so well. We continued our road, and reached Tivoli at
ten o'clock.

We began by visiting Don Francisco's villa. It was a beautiful little
house, and we spent the following six hours in examining together the
antiquities of Tivoli. Lucrezia having occasion to whisper a few words to
Don Francisco, I seized the opportunity of telling Angelique that after
her marriage I should be happy to spend a few days of the fine season
with her.

"Sir," she answered, "I give you fair notice that the moment I become
mistress in this house you will be the very first person to be excluded."

"I feel greatly obliged to you, signora, for your timely notice."

But the most amusing part of the affair was that I construed Angelique's
wanton insult into a declaration of love. I was astounded. Lucrezia,
remarking the state I was in, touched my arm, enquiring what ailed me. I
told her, and she said at once,

"My darling, my happiness cannot last long; the cruel moment of our
separation is drawing near. When I have gone, pray undertake the task of
compelling her to acknowledge her error. Angelique pities me, be sure to
avenge me."

I have forgotten to mention that at Don Francisco's villa I happened to
praise a very pretty room opening upon the orange-house, and the amiable
host, having heard me, came obligingly to me, and said that it should be
my room that night. Lucrezia feigned not to hear, but it was to her
Ariadne's clue, for, as we were to remain altogether during our visit to
the beauties of Tivoli, we had no chance of a tete-a-tete through the
day.

I have said that we devoted six hours to an examination of the
antiquities of Tivoli, but I am bound to confess here that I saw, for my
part, very little of them, and it was only twenty-eight years later that
I made a thorough acquaintance with the beautiful spot.

We returned to the villa towards evening, fatigued and very hungry, but
an hour's rest before supper--a repast which lasted two hours, the most
delicious dishes, the most exquisite wines, and particularly the
excellent wine of Tivoli--restored us so well that everybody wanted
nothing more than a good bed and the freedom to enjoy the bed according
to his own taste.

As everybody objected to sleep alone, Lucrezia said that she would sleep
with Angelique in one of the rooms leading to the orange-house, and
proposed that her husband should share a room with the young abbe, his
brother-in-law, and that Donna Cecilia should take her youngest daughter
with her.

The arrangement met with general approbation, and Don Francisco, taking a
candle, escorted me to my pretty little room adjoining the one in which
the two sisters were to sleep, and, after shewing me how I could lock
myself in, he wished me good night and left me alone.

Angelique had no idea that I was her near neighbour, but Lucrezia and I,
without exchanging a single word on the subject, had perfectly understood
each other.

I watched through the key-hole and saw the two sisters come into their
room, preceded by the polite Don Francisco, who carried a taper, and,
after lighting a night-lamp, bade them good night and retired. Then my
two beauties, their door once locked, sat down on the sofa and completed
their night toilet, which, in that fortunate climate, is similar to the
costume of our first mother. Lucrezia, knowing that I was waiting to come
in, told her sister to lie down on the side towards the window, and the
virgin, having no idea that she was exposing her most secret beauties to
my profane eyes, crossed the room in a state of complete nakedness.
Lucrezia put out the lamp and lay down near her innocent sister.

Happy moments which I can no longer enjoy, but the sweet remembrance of
which death alone can make me lose! I believe I never undressed myself as
quickly as I did that evening.

I open the door and fall into the arms of my Lucrezia, who says to her
sister, "It is my angel, my love; never mind him, and go to sleep."

What a delightful picture I could offer to my readers if it were possible
for me to paint voluptuousness in its most enchanting colours! What
ecstasies of love from the very onset! What delicious raptures succeed
each other until the sweetest fatigue made us give way to the soothing
influence of Morpheus!

The first rays of the sun, piercing through the crevices of the shutters,
wake us out of our refreshing slumbers, and like two valorous knights who
have ceased fighting only to renew the contest with increased ardour, we
lose no time in giving ourselves up to all the intensity of the flame
which consumes us.

"Oh, my beloved Lucrezia! how supremely happy I am! But, my darling, mind
your sister; she might turn round and see us."

"Fear nothing, my life; my sister is kind, she loves me, she pities me;
do you not love me, my dear Angelique? Oh! turn round, see how happy your
sister is, and know what felicity awaits you when you own the sway of
love."

Angelique, a young maiden of seventeen summers, who must have suffered
the torments of Tantalus during the night, and who only wishes for a
pretext to shew that she has forgiven her sister, turns round, and
covering her sister with kisses, confesses that she has not closed her
eyes through the night.

"Then forgive likewise, darling Angelique, forgive him who loves me, and
whom I adore," says Lucrezia.

Unfathomable power of the god who conquers all human beings!

"Angelique hates me," I say, "I dare not...."

"No, I do not hate you!" answers the charming girl.

"Kiss her, dearest," says Lucrezia, pushing me towards her sister, and
pleased to see her in my arms motionless and languid.

But sentiment, still more than love, forbids me to deprive Lucrezia of
the proof of my gratitude, and I turn to her with all the rapture of a
beginner, feeling that my ardour is increased by Angelique's ecstasy, as
for the first time she witnesses the amorous contest. Lucrezia, dying of
enjoyment, entreats me to stop, but, as I do not listen to her prayer,
she tricks me, and the sweet Angelique makes her first sacrifice to the
mother of love. It is thus, very likely, that when the gods inhabited
this earth, the voluptuous Arcadia, in love with the soft and pleasing
breath of Zephyrus, one day opened her arms, and was fecundated.

Lucrezia was astonished and delighted, and covered us both with kisses.
Angelique, as happy as her sister, expired deliciously in my arms for the
third time, and she seconded me with so much loving ardour, that it
seemed to me I was tasting happiness for the first time.

Phoebus had left the nuptial couch, and his rays were already diffusing
light over the universe; and that light, reaching us through the closed
shutters, gave me warning to quit the place; we exchanged the most loving
adieus, I left my two divinities and retired to my own room. A few
minutes afterwards, the cheerful voice of the advocate was heard in the
chamber of the sisters; he was reproaching them for sleeping too long!
Then he knocked at my door, threatening to bring the ladies to me, and
went away, saying that he would send me the hair-dresser.

After many ablutions and a careful toilet, I thought I could skew my
face, and I presented myself coolly in the drawing-room. The two sisters
were there with the other members of our society, and I was delighted
with their rosy cheeks. Lucrezia was frank and gay, and beamed with
happiness; Angelique, as fresh as the morning dew, was more radiant than
usual, but fidgety, and carefully avoided looking me in the face. I saw
that my useless attempts to catch her eyes made her smile, and I remarked
to her mother, rather mischievously, that it was a pity Angelique used
paint for her face. She was duped by this stratagem, and compelled me to
pass a handkerchief over her face, and was then obliged to look at me. I
offered her my apologies, and Don Francisco appeared highly pleased that
the complexion of his intended had met with such triumph.

After breakfast we took a walk through the garden, and, finding myself
alone with Lucrezia, I expostulated tenderly with her for having almost
thrown her sister in my arms.

"Do not reproach me," she said, "when I deserve praise. I have brought
light into the darkness of my charming sister's soul; I have initiated
her in the sweetest of mysteries, and now, instead of pitying me, she
must envy me. Far from having hatred for you, she must love you dearly,
and as I am so unhappy as to have to part from you very soon, my beloved,
I leave her to you; she will replace me."

"Ah, Lucrezia! how can I love her?"

"Is she not a charming girl?"

"No doubt of it; but my adoration for you is a shield against any other
love. Besides Don Francisco must, of course, entirely monopolize her, and
I do not wish to cause coolness between them, or to ruin the peace of
their home. I am certain your sister is not like you, and I would bet
that, even now, she upbraids herself for having given way to the ardour
of her temperament:"

"Most likely; but, dearest, I am sorry to say my husband expects to
obtain judgment in the course of this week, and then the short instants
of happiness will for ever be lost to me."

This was sad news indeed, and to cause a diversion at the breakfast-table
I took much notice of the generous Don Francisco, and promised to compose
a nuptial song for his wedding-day, which had been fixed for the early
part of January.

We returned to Rome, and for the three hours that she was with me in my
vis-a-vis, Lucrezia had no reason to think that my ardour was at all
abated. But when we reached the city I was rather fatigued, and proceeded
at once to the palace.

Lucrezia had guessed rightly; her husband obtained his judgment three or
four days afterwards, and called upon me to announce their departure for
the day after the morrow; he expressed his warm friendship for me, and by
his invitation I spent the two last evenings with Lucrezia, but we were
always surrounded by the family. The day of her departure, wishing to
cause her an agreeable surprise, I left Rome before them and waited for
them at the place where I thought they would put up for the night, but
the advocate, having been detained by several engagements, was detained
in Rome, and they only reached the place next day for dinner. We dined
together, we exchanged a sad, painful farewell, and they continued their
journey while I returned to Rome.

After the departure of this charming woman, I found myself in sort of
solitude very natural to a young man whose heart is not full of hope.

I passed whole days in my room, making extracts from the French letters
written by the cardinal, and his eminence was kind enough to tell me that
my extracts were judiciously made, but that he insisted upon my not
working so hard. The beautiful marchioness was present when he paid me
that compliment.

Since my second visit to her, I had not presented myself at her house;
she was consequently rather cool to me, and, glad of an opportunity of
making me feel her displeasure, she remarked to his eminence that very
likely work was a consolation to me in the great void caused by the
departure of Donna Lucrezia.

"I candidly confess, madam, that I have felt her loss deeply. She was
kind and generous; above all, she was indulgent when I did not call often
upon her. My friendship for her was innocent."

"I have no doubt of it, although your ode was the work of a poet deeply
in love."

"Oh!" said the kindly cardinal, "a poet cannot possibly write without
professing to be in love."

"But," replied the marchioness, "if the poet is really in love, he has no
need of professing a feeling which he possesses."

As she was speaking, the marchioness drew out of her pocket a paper which
she offered to his eminence.

"This is the ode," she said, "it does great honour to the poet, for it is
admitted to be a masterpiece by all the literati in Rome, and Donna
Lucrezia knows it by heart."

The cardinal read it over and returned it, smiling, and remarking that,
as he had no taste for Italian poetry, she must give herself the pleasure
of translating it into French rhyme if she wished him to admire it.

"I only write French prose," answered the marchioness, "and a prose
translation destroys half the beauty of poetry. I am satisfied with
writing occasionally a little Italian poetry without any pretension to
poetical fame."

Those words were accompanied by a very significant glance in my
direction.

"I should consider myself fortunate, madam, if I could obtain the
happiness of admiring some of your poetry."

"Here is a sonnet of her ladyship's," said Cardinal S. C.

I took it respectfully, and I prepared to read it, but the amiable
marchioness told me to put it in my pocket and return it to the cardinal
the next day, although she did not think the sonnet worth so much
trouble. "If you should happen to go out in the morning," said Cardinal
S. C., "you could bring it back, and dine with me." Cardinal Aquaviva
immediately answered for me: "He will be sure to go out purposely."

With a deep reverence, which expressed my thanks, I left the room quietly
and returned to my apartment, very impatient to read the sonnet. Yet,
before satisfying my wish, I could not help making some reflections on
the situation. I began to think myself somebody since the gigantic stride
I had made this evening at the cardinal's assembly. The Marchioness de G.
had shewn in the most open way the interest she felt in me, and, under
cover of her grandeur, had not hesitated to compromise herself publicly
by the most flattering advances. But who would have thought of
disapproving? A young abbe like me, without any importance whatever, who
could scarcely pretend to her high protection! True, but she was
precisely the woman to grant it to those who, feeling themselves unworthy
of it, dared not shew any pretensions to her patronage. On that head, my
modesty must be evident to everyone, and the marchioness would certainly
have insulted me had she supposed me capable of sufficient vanity to
fancy that she felt the slightest inclination for me. No, such a piece of
self-conceit was not in accordance with my nature. Her cardinal himself
had invited me to dinner. Would he have done so if he had admitted the
possibility of the beautiful marchioness feeling anything for me? Of
course not, and he gave me an invitation to dine with him only because he
had understood, from the very words of the lady, that I was just the sort
of person with whom they could converse for a few hours without any risk;
to be sure, without any risk whatever. Oh, Master Casanova! do you really
think so?

Well, why should I put on a mask before my readers? They may think me
conceited if they please, but the fact of the matter is that I felt sure
of having made a conquest of the marchioness. I congratulated myself
because she had taken the first, most difficult, and most important step.
Had she not done so, I should never have dared-to lay siege to her even
in the most approved fashion; I should never have even ventured to dream
of winning her. It was only this evening that I thought she might replace
Lucrezia. She was beautiful, young, full of wit and talent; she was fond
of literary pursuits, and very powerful in Rome; what more was necessary?
Yet I thought it would be good policy to appear ignorant of her
inclination for me, and to let her suppose from the very next day that I
was in love with her, but that my love appeared to me hopeless. I knew
that such a plan was infallible, because it saved her dignity. It seemed
to me that Father Georgi himself would be compelled to approve such an
undertaking, and I had remarked with great satisfaction that Cardinal
Acquaviva had expressed his delight at Cardinal S. C.'s invitation--an
honour which he had never yet bestowed on me himself. This affair might
have very important results for me.

I read the marchioness's sonnet, and found it easy, flowing, and well
written. It was composed in praise of the King of Prussia, who had just
conquered Silesia by a masterly stroke. As I was copying it, the idea
struck me to personify Silesia, and to make her, in answer to the sonnet,
bewail that Love (supposed to be the author of the sonnet of the
marchioness) could applaud the man who had conquered her, when that
conqueror was the sworn enemy of Love.

It is impossible for a man accustomed to write poetry to abstain when a
happy subject smiles upon his delighted imagination. If he attempted to
smother the poetical flame running through his veins it would consume
him. I composed my sonnet, keeping the same rhymes as in the original,
and, well pleased with my muse, I went to bed.

The next morning the Abbe Gama came in just as I had finished recopying
my sonnet, and said he would breakfast with me. He complimented me upon
the honour conferred on me by the invitation of Cardinal S. C.

"But be prudent," he added, "for his eminence has the reputation of being
jealous:"

I thanked him for his friendly advice, taking care to assure him that I
had nothing to fear, because I did not feel the slightest inclination for
the handsome marchioness.

Cardinal S. C. received me with great kindness mingled with dignity, to
make me realize the importance of the favour he was bestowing upon me.

"What do you think," he enquired, "of the sonnet?"

"Monsignor, it is perfectly written, and, what is more, it is a charming
composition. Allow me to return it to you with my thanks."

"She has much talent. I wish to shew you ten stanzas of her composition,
my dear abbe, but you must promise to be very discreet about it."

"Your eminence may rely on me."

He opened his bureau and brought forth the stanzas of which he was the
subject. I read them, found them well written, but devoid of enthusiasm;
they were the work of a poet, and expressed love in the words of passion,
but were not pervaded by that peculiar feeling by which true love is so
easily discovered. The worthy cardinal was doubtless guilty of a very
great indiscretion, but self-love is the cause of so many injudicious
steps! I asked his eminence whether he had answered the stanzas.

"No," he replied, "I have not; but would you feel disposed to lend me
your poetical pen, always under the seal of secrecy?"

"As to secrecy, monsignor, I promise it faithfully; but I am afraid the
marchioness will remark the difference between your style and mine."

"She has nothing of my composition," said the cardinal; "I do not think
she supposes me a fine poet, and for that reason your stanzas must be
written in such a manner that she will not esteem them above my
abilities."

"I will write them with pleasure, monsignor, and your eminence can form
an opinion; if they do not seem good enough to be worthy of you, they
need not be given to the marchioness."

"That is well said. Will you write them at once?"

"What! now, monsignor? It is not like prose."

"Well, well! try to let me have them to-morrow."

We dined alone, and his eminence complimented me upon my excellent
appetite, which he remarked was as good as his own; but I was beginning
to understand my eccentric host, and, to flatter him, I answered that he
praised me more than I deserved, and that my appetite was inferior to
his. The singular compliment delighted him, and I saw all the use I could
make of his eminence.

Towards the end of the dinner, as we were conversing, the marchioness
made her appearance, and, as a matter of course, without being announced.
Her looks threw me into raptures; I thought her a perfect beauty. She did
not give the cardinal time to meet her, but sat down near him, while I
remained standing, according to etiquette.

Without appearing to notice me, the marchioness ran wittily over various
topics until coffee was brought in. Then, addressing herself to me, she
told me to sit down, just as if she was bestowing charity upon me.

"By-the-by, abbe," she said, a minute after, "have you read my sonnet?"

"Yes, madam, and I have had the honour to return it to his eminence. I
have found it so perfect that I am certain it must have cost you a great
deal of time."

"Time?" exclaimed the cardinal; "Oh! you do not know the marchioness."

"Monsignor," I replied, "nothing can be done well without time, and that
is why I have not dared to chew to your eminence an answer to the sonnet
which I have written in half an hour."

"Let us see it, abbe," said the marchioness; "I want to read it."

"Answer of Silesia to Love." This title brought the most fascinating
blushes on her countenance. "But Love is not mentioned in the sonnet,"
exclaimed the cardinal. "Wait," said the marchioness, "we must respect
the idea of the poet:"

She read the sonnet over and over, and thought that the reproaches
addressed by Silesia to Love were very just. She explained my idea to the
cardinal, making him understand why Silesia was offended at having been
conquered by the King of Prussia.

"Ah, I see, I see!" exclaimed the cardinal, full of joy; "Silesia is a
woman.... and the King of Prussia.... Oh! oh! that is really a fine
idea!" And the good cardinal laughed heartily for more than a quarter of
an hour. "I must copy that sonnet," he added, "indeed I must have it."

"The abbe," said the obliging marchioness, "will save you the trouble: I
will dictate it to him."

I prepared to write, but his eminence suddenly exclaimed, "My dear
marchioness, this is wonderful; he has kept the same rhymes as in your
own sonnet: did you observe it?"

The beautiful marchioness gave me then a look of such expression that she
completed her conquest. I understood that she wanted me to know the
cardinal as well as she knew him; it was a kind of partnership in which I
was quite ready to play my part.

As soon as I had written the sonnet under the charming woman's dictation,
I took my leave, but not before the cardinal had told me that he expected
me to dinner the next day.

I had plenty of work before me, for the ten stanzas I had to compose were
of the most singular character, and I lost no time in shutting myself up
in my room to think of them. I had to keep my balance between two points
of equal difficulty, and I felt that great care was indispensable. I had
to place the marchioness in such a position that she could pretend to
believe the cardinal the author of the stanzas, and, at the same time,
compel her to find out that I had written them, and that I was aware of
her knowing it. It was necessary to speak so carefully that not one
expression should breathe even the faintest hope on my part, and yet to
make my stanzas blaze with the ardent fire of my love under the thin veil
of poetry. As for the cardinal, I knew well enough that the better the
stanzas were written, the more disposed he would be to sign them. All I
wanted was clearness, so difficult to obtain in poetry, while a little
doubtful darkness would have been accounted sublime by my new Midas. But,
although I wanted to please him, the cardinal was only a secondary
consideration, and the handsome marchioness the principal object.

As the marchioness in her verses had made a pompous enumeration of every
physical and moral quality of his eminence, it was of course natural that
he should return the compliment, and here my task was easy. At last
having mastered my subject well, I began my work, and giving full career
to my imagination and to my feelings I composed the ten stanzas, and gave
the finishing stroke with these two beautiful lines from Ariosto:

     Le angelicche bellezze nate al cielo
     Non si ponno celar sotto alcum velo.

Rather pleased with my production, I presented it the next day to the
cardinal, modestly saying that I doubted whether he would accept the
authorship of so ordinary a composition. He read the stanzas twice over
without taste or expression, and said at last that they were indeed not
much, but exactly what he wanted. He thanked me particularly for the two
lines from Ariosto, saying that they would assist in throwing the
authorship upon himself, as they would prove to the lady for whom they
were intended that he had not been able to write them without borrowing.
And, as to offer me some consolation, he told me that, in recopying the
lines, he would take care to make a few mistakes in the rhythm to
complete the illusion.

We dined earlier than the day before, and I withdrew immediately after
dinner so as to give him leisure to make a copy of the stanzas before the
arrival of the lady.

The next evening I met the marchioness at the entrance of the palace, and
offered her my arm to come out of her carriage. The instant she alighted,
she said to me,

"If ever your stanzas and mine become known in Rome, you may be sure of
my enmity."

"Madam, I do not understand what you mean."

"I expected you to answer me in this manner," replied the marchioness,
"but recollect what I have said."

I left her at the door of the reception-room, and thinking that she was
really angry with me, I went away in despair. "My stanzas," I said to
myself, "are too fiery; they compromise her dignity, and her pride is
offended at my knowing the secret of her intrigue with Cardinal S. C.
Yet, I feel certain that the dread she expresses of my want of discretion
is only feigned, it is but a pretext to turn me out of her favour. She
has not understood my reserve! What would she have done, if I had painted
her in the simple apparel of the golden age, without any of those veils
which modesty imposes upon her sex!" I was sorry I had not done so. I
undressed and went to bed. My head was scarcely on the pillow when the
Abbe Gama knocked at my door. I pulled the door-string, and coming in, he
said,

"My dear sir, the cardinal wishes to see you, and I am sent by the
beautiful marchioness and Cardinal S. C., who desire you to come down."

"I am very sorry, but I cannot go; tell them the truth; I am ill in bed."

As the abbe did not return, I judged that he had faithfully acquitted
himself of the commission, and I spent a quiet night. I was not yet
dressed in the morning, when I received a note from Cardinal S. C.
inviting me to dinner, saying that he had just been bled, and that he
wanted to speak to me: he concluded by entreating me to come to him
early, even if I did not feel well.

The invitation was pressing; I could not guess what had caused it, but
the tone of the letter did not forebode anything unpleasant. I went to
church, where I was sure that Cardinal Acquaviva would see me, and he
did. After mass, his eminence beckoned to me.

"Are you truly ill?" he enquired.

"No, monsignor, I was only sleepy."

"I am very glad to hear it; but you are wrong, for you are loved.
Cardinal S. C. has been bled this morning."

"I know it, monsignor. The cardinal tells me so in this note, in which he
invites me to dine with him, with your excellency's permission."

"Certainly. But this is amusing! I did not know that he wanted a third
person."

"Will there be a third person?"

"I do not know, and I have no curiosity about it."

The cardinal left me, and everybody imagined that his eminence had spoken
to me of state affairs.

I went to my new Maecenas, whom I found in bed.

"I am compelled to observe strict diet," he said to me; "I shall have to
let you dine alone, but you will not lose by it as my cook does not know
it. What I wanted to tell you is that your stanzas are, I am afraid, too
pretty, for the marchioness adores them. If you had read them to me in
the same way that she does, I could never have made up my mind to offer
them." "But she believes them to be written by your eminence?"

"Of course."

"That is the essential point, monsignor."

"Yes; but what should I do if she took it into her head to compose some
new stanzas for me?"

"You would answer through the same pen, for you can dispose of me night
and day, and rely upon the utmost secrecy."

"I beg of you to accept this small present; it is some negrillo snuff
from Habana, which Cardinal Acquaviva has given me."

The snuff was excellent, but the object which contained it was still
better. It was a splendid gold-enamelled box. I received it with respect,
and with the expression of the deepest gratitude.

If his eminence did not know how to write poetry, at least he knew how to
be generous, and in a delicate manner, and that science is, at least in
my estimation, superior to the other for a great nobleman.

At noon, and much to my surprise, the beautiful marchioness made her
appearance in the most elegant morning toilet.

"If I had known you were in good company," she said to the cardinal, "I
would not have come."

"I am sure, dear marchioness, you will not find our dear abbe in the
way."

"No, for I believe him to be honest and true."

I kept at a respectful distance, ready to go away with my splendid
snuff-box at the first jest she might hurl at me.

The cardinal asked her if she intended to remain to dinner.

"Yes," she answered; "but I shall not enjoy my dinner, for I hate to eat
alone."

"If you would honour him so far, the abbe would keep you company."

She gave me a gracious look, but without uttering one word.

This was the first time I had anything to do with a woman of quality, and
that air of patronage, whatever kindness might accompany it, always put
me out of temper, for I thought it made love out of the question.
However, as we were in the presence of the cardinal, I fancied that she
might be right in treating me in that fashion.

The table was laid out near the cardinal's bed, and the marchioness, who
ate hardly anything, encouraged me in my good appetite.

"I have told you that the abbe is equal to me in that respect," said S.
C.

"I truly believe," answered the marchioness, "that he does not remain far
behind you; but," added she with flattery, "you are more dainty in your
tastes."

"Would her ladyship be so good as to tell me in what I have appeared to
her to be a mere glutton? For in all things I like only dainty and
exquisite morsels."

"Explain what you mean by saying in all things," said the cardinal.
Taking the liberty of laughing, I composed a few impromptu verses in
which I named all I thought dainty and exquisite. The marchioness
applauded, saying that she admired my courage.

"My courage, madam, is due to you, for I am as timid as a hare when I am
not encouraged; you are the author of my impromptu."

"I admire you. As for myself, were I encouraged by Apollo himself, I
could not compose four lines without paper and ink."

"Only give way boldly to your genius, madam, and you will produce poetry
worthy of heaven."

"That--is my opinion, too," said the cardinal. "I entreat you to give me
permission to skew your ten stanzas to the abbe."

"They are not very good, but I have no objection provided it remains
between us."

The cardinal gave me, then, the stanzas composed by the marchioness, and
I read them aloud with all the expression, all the feeling necessary to
such reading.

"How well you have read those stanzas!" said the marchioness; "I can
hardly believe them to be my own composition; I thank you very much. But
have the goodness to give the benefit of your reading to the stanzas
which his eminence has written in answer to mine. They surpass them
much."

"Do not believe it, my dear abbe," said the cardinal, handing them to me.
"Yet try not to let them lose anything through your reading."

There was certainly no need of his eminence enforcing upon me such a
recommendation; it was my own poetry. I could not have read it otherwise
than in my best style, especially when I had before me the beautiful
woman who had inspired them, and when, besides, Bacchus was in me giving
courage to Apollo as much as the beautiful eyes of the marchioness were
fanning into an ardent blaze the fire already burning through my whole
being.

I read the stanzas with so much expression that the cardinal was
enraptured, but I brought a deep carnation tint upon the cheeks of the
lovely marchioness when I came to the description of those beauties which
the imagination of the poet is allowed to guess at, but which I could
not, of course, have gazed upon. She snatched the paper from my hands
with passion, saying that I was adding verses of my own; it was true, but
I did not confess it. I was all aflame, and the fire was scorching her as
well as me.

The cardinal having fallen asleep, she rose and went to take a seat on
the balcony; I followed her. She had a rather high seat; I stood opposite
to her, so that her knee touched the fob-pocket in which was my watch.
What a position! Taking hold gently of one of her hands, I told her that
she had ignited in my soul a devouring flame, that I adored her, and
that, unless some hope was left to me of finding her sensible to my
sufferings, I was determined to fly away from her for ever.

"Yes, beautiful marchioness, pronounce my sentence."

"I fear you are a libertine and an unfaithful lover."

"I am neither one nor the other."

With these words I folded her in my arms, and I pressed upon her lovely
lips, as pure as a rose, an ardent kiss which she received with the best
possible grace. This kiss, the forerunner of the most delicious
pleasures, had imparted to my hands the greatest boldness; I was on the
point of.... but the marchioness, changing her position, entreated me so
sweetly to respect her, that, enjoying new voluptuousness through my very
obedience, I not only abandoned an easy victory, but I even begged her
pardon, which I soon read in the most loving look.

She spoke of Lucrezia, and was pleased with my discretion. She then
alluded to the cardinal, doing her best to make me believe that there was
nothing between them but a feeling of innocent friendship. Of course I
had my opinion on that subject, but it was my interest to appear to
believe every word she uttered. We recited together lines from our best
poets, and all the time she was still sitting down and I standing before
her, with my looks rapt in the contemplation of the most lovely charms,
to which I remained insensible in appearance, for I had made up my mind
not to press her that evening for greater favours than those I had
already received.

The cardinal, waking from his long and peaceful siesta, got up and joined
us in his night-cap, and good-naturedly enquired whether we had not felt
impatient at his protracted sleep. I remained until dark and went home
highly pleased with my day's work, but determined to keep my ardent
desires in check until the opportunity for complete victory offered
itself.

From that day, the charming marchioness never ceased to give me the marks
of her particular esteem, without the slightest constraint; I was
reckoning upon the carnival, which was close at hand, feeling certain
that the more I should spare her delicacy, the more she would endeavour
to find the opportunity of rewarding my loyalty, and of crowning with
happiness my loving constancy. But fate ordained otherwise; Dame Fortune
turned her back upon me at the very moment when the Pope and Cardinal
Acquaviva were thinking of giving me a really good position.

The Holy Father had congratulated me upon the beautiful snuff-box
presented to me by Cardinal S. C., but he had been careful never to name
the marchioness. Cardinal Acquaviva expressed openly his delight at his
brother-cardinal having given me a taste of his negrillo snuff in so
splendid an envelope; the Abbe Gama, finding me so forward on the road to
success, did not venture to counsel me any more, and the virtuous Father
Georgi gave me but one piece of advice-namely, to cling to the lovely
marchioness and not to make any other acquaintances.

Such was my position-truly a brilliant one, when, on Christmas Day, the
lover of Barbara Dalacqua entered my room, locked the door, and threw
himself on the sofa, exclaiming that I saw him for the last time.

"I only come to beg of you some good advice."

"On what subject can I advise you?"

"Take this and read it; it will explain everything."

It was a letter from his mistress; the contents were these:

"I am pregnant of a child, the pledge of our mutual love; I can no longer
have any doubt of it, my beloved, and I forewarn you that I have made up
my mind to quit Rome alone, and to go away to die where it may please
God, if you refuse to take care of me and save me. I would suffer
anything, do anything, rather than let my father discover the truth."

"If you are a man of honour," I said, "you cannot abandon the poor girl.
Marry her in spite of your father, in spite of her own, and live together
honestly. The eternal Providence of God will watch over you and help you
in your difficulties:"

My advice seemed to bring calm to his mind, and he left me more composed.

At the beginning of January, 1744, he called again, looking very
cheerful. "I have hired," he said, "the top floor of the house next to
Barbara's dwelling; she knows it, and to-night I will gain her apartment
through one of the windows of the garret, and we will make all our
arrangements to enable me to carry her off. I have made up my mind; I
have decided upon taking her to Naples, and I will take with us the
servant who, sleeping in the garret, had to be made a confidante of."

"God speed you, my friend!"

A week afterwards, towards eleven o'clock at night, he entered my room
accompanied by an abbe.

"What do you want so late?"

"I wish to introduce you to this handsome abbe."

I looked up, and to my consternation I recognized Barbara.

"Has anyone seen you enter the house?" I enquired.

"No; and if we had been seen, what of it? It is only an abbe. We now pass
every night together."

"I congratulate you."

"The servant is our friend; she has consented to follow us, and all our
arrangements are completed."

"I wish you every happiness. Adieu. I beg you to leave me."

Three or four days after that visit, as I was walking with the Abbe Gama
towards the Villa Medicis, he told me deliberately that there would be an
execution during the night in the Piazza di Spagna.

"What kind of execution?"

"The bargello or his lieutenant will come to execute some 'ordine
santissimo', or to visit some suspicious dwelling in order to arrest and
carry off some person who does not expect anything of the sort."

"How do you know it?"

"His eminence has to know it, for the Pope would not venture to encroach
upon his jurisdiction without asking his permission."

"And his eminence has given it?"

"Yes, one of the Holy Father's auditors came for that purpose this
morning."

"But the cardinal might have refused?"

"Of course; but such a permission is never denied."

"And if the person to be arrested happened to be under the protection of
the cardinal--what then?"

"His eminence would give timely warning to that person."

We changed the conversation, but the news had disturbed me. I fancied
that the execution threatened Barbara and her lover, for her father's
house was under the Spanish jurisdiction. I tried to see the young man
but I could not succeed in meeting him, and I was afraid lest a visit at
his home or at M. Dalacqua's dwelling might implicate me. Yet it is
certain that this last consideration would not have stopped me if I had
been positively sure that they were threatened; had I felt satisfied of
their danger, I would have braved everything.

About midnight, as I was ready to go to bed, and just as I was opening my
door to take the key from outside, an abbe rushed panting into my room
and threw himself on a chair. It was Barbara; I guessed what had taken
place, and, foreseeing all the evil consequences her visit might have for
me, deeply annoyed and very anxious, I upbraided her for having taken
refuge in my room, and entreated her to go away.

Fool that I was! Knowing that I was only ruining myself without any
chance of saving her, I ought to have compelled her to leave my room, I
ought to have called for the servants if she had refused to withdraw. But
I had not courage enough, or rather I voluntarily obeyed the decrees of
destiny.

When she heard my order to go away, she threw herself on her knees, and
melting into tears, she begged, she entreated my pity!

Where is the heart of steel which is not softened by the tears, by the
prayers of a pretty and unfortunate woman? I gave way, but I told her
that it was ruin for both of us.

"No one," she replied, "has seen me, I am certain, when I entered the
mansion and came up to your room, and I consider my visit here a week ago
as most fortunate; otherwise, I never could have known which was your
room."

"Alas! how much better if you had never come! But what has become of your
lover?"

"The 'sbirri' have carried him off, as well as the servant. I will tell
you all about it. My lover had informed me that a carriage would wait
to-night at the foot of the flight of steps before the Church of Trinita
del Monte, and that he would be there himself. I entered his room through
the garret window an hour ago. There I put on this disguise, and,
accompanied by the servant, proceeded to meet him. The servant walked a
few yards before me, and carried a parcel of my things. At the corner of
the street, one of the buckles of my shoes being unfastened, I stopped an
instant, and the servant went on, thinking that I was following her. She
reached the carriage, got into it, and, as I was getting nearer, the
light from a lantern disclosed to me some thirty sbirri; at the same
instant, one of them got on the driver's box and drove off at full speed,
carrying off the servant, whom they must have mistaken for me, and my
lover who was in the coach awaiting me. What could I do at such a fearful
moment? I could not go back to my father's house, and I followed my first
impulse which brought me here. And here I am! You tell me that my
presence will cause your ruin; if it is so, tell me what to do; I feel I
am dying; but find some expedient and I am ready to do anything, even to
lay my life down, rather than be the cause of your ruin."

But she wept more bitterly than ever.

Her position was so sad that I thought it worse even than mine, although
I could almost fancy I saw ruin before me despite my innocence.

"Let me," I said, "conduct you to your father; I feel sure of obtaining
your pardon."

But my proposal only enhanced her fears.

"I am lost," she exclaimed; "I know my father. Ah! reverend sir, turn me
out into the street, and abandon me to my miserable fate."

No doubt I ought to have done so, and I would have done it if the
consciousness of what was due to my own interest had been stronger than
my feeling of pity. But her tears! I have often said it, and those
amongst my readers who have experienced it, must be of the same opinion;
there is nothing on earth more irresistible than two beautiful eyes
shedding tears, when the owner of those eyes is handsome, honest, and
unhappy. I found myself physically unable to send her away.

"My poor girl," I said at last, "when daylight comes, and that will not
be long, for it is past midnight, what do you intend to do?"

"I must leave the palace," she replied, sobbing. "In this disguise no one
can recognize me; I will leave Rome, and I will walk straight before me
until I fall on the ground, dying with grief and fatigue."

With these words she fell on the floor. She was choking; I could see her
face turn blue; I was in the greatest distress.

I took off her neck-band, unlaced her stays under the abbe's dress, I
threw cold water in her face, and I finally succeeded in bringing her
back to consciousness.

The night was extremely cold, and there was no fire in my room. I advised
her to get into my bed, promising to respect her.

"Alas! reverend sir, pity is the only feeling with which I can now
inspire anyone."

And, to speak the truth I was too deeply moved, and, at the same time,
too full of anxiety, to leave room in me for any desire. Having induced
her to go to bed, and her extreme weakness preventing her from doing
anything for herself, I undressed her and put her to bed, thus proving
once more that compassion will silence the most imperious requirements of
nature, in spite of all the charms which would, under other
circumstances, excite to the highest degree the senses of a man. I lay
down near her in my clothes, and woke her at day-break. Her strength was
somewhat restored, she dressed herself alone, and I left my room, telling
her to keep quiet until my return. I intended to proceed to her father's
house, and to solicit her pardon, but, having perceived some
suspicious-looking men loitering about the palace, I thought it wise to
alter my mind, and went to a coffeehouse.

I soon ascertained that a spy was watching my movements at a distance;
but I did not appear to notice him, and having taken some chocolate and
stored a few biscuits in my pocket, I returned towards the palace,
apparently without any anxiety or hurry, always followed by the same
individual. I judged that the bargello, having failed in his project, was
now reduced to guesswork, and I was strengthened in that view of the case
when the gate-keeper of the palace told me, without my asking any
question, as I came in, that an arrest had been attempted during the
night, and had not succeeded. While he was speaking, one of the auditors
of the Vicar-General called to enquire when he could see the Abby Gama. I
saw that no time was to be lost, and went up to my room to decide upon
what was to be done.

I began by making the poor girl eat a couple of biscuits soaked in some
Canary wine, and I took her afterwards to the top story of the palace,
where, leaving her in a not very decent closet which was not used by
anyone, I told her to wait for me.

My servant came soon after, and I ordered him to lock the door of my room
as soon as he finished cleaning it, and to bring me the key at the Abbe
Gama's apartment, where I was going. I found Gama in conversation with
the auditor sent by the Vicar-General. As soon as he had dismissed him,
he came to me, and ordered his servant to serve the chocolate. When we
were left alone he gave me an account of his interview with the auditor,
who had come to entreat his eminence to give orders to turn out of his
palace a person who was supposed to have taken refuge in it about
midnight. "We must wait," said the abbe, "until the cardinal is visible,
but I am quite certain that, if anyone has taken refuge here unknown to
him, his eminence will compel that person to leave the palace." We then
spoke of the weather and other trifles until my servant brought my key.
Judging that I had at least an hour to spare, I bethought myself of a
plan which alone could save Barbara from shame and misery.

Feeling certain that I was unobserved, I went up to my poor prisoner and
made her write the following words in French:

"I am an honest girl, monsignor, though I am disguised in the dress of an
abbe. I entreat your eminence to allow me to give my name only to you and
in person. I hope that, prompted by the great goodness of your soul, your
eminence will save me from dishonour." I gave her the necessary
instructions, as to sending the note to the cardinal, assuring her that
he would have her brought to him as soon as he read it.

"When you are in his presence," I added, "throw yourself on your knees,
tell him everything without any concealment, except as regards your
having passed the night in my room. You must be sure not to mention that
circumstance, for the cardinal must remain in complete ignorance of my
knowing anything whatever of this intrigue. Tell him that, seeing your
lover carried off, you rushed to his palace and ran upstairs as far as
you could go, and that after a most painful night Heaven inspired you
with the idea of writing to him to entreat his pity. I feel certain that,
one way or the other, his eminence will save you from dishonour, and it
certainly is the only chance you have of being united to the man you love
so dearly."

She promised to follow 'my instructions faithfully, and, coming down, I
had my hair dressed and went to church, where the cardinal saw me. I then
went out and returned only for dinner, during which the only subject of
conversation was the adventure of the night. Gama alone said nothing, and
I followed his example, but I understood from all the talk going on round
the table that the cardinal had taken my poor Barbara under his
protection. That was all I wanted, and thinking that I had nothing more
to fear I congratulated myself, in petto, upon my stratagem, which had, I
thought, proved a master-stroke. After dinner, finding myself alone with
Gama, I asked him what was the meaning of it all, and this is what he
told me:

"A father, whose name I do not know yet, had requested the assistance of
the Vicar-General to prevent his son from carrying off a young girl, with
whom he intended to leave the States of the Church; the pair had arranged
to meet at midnight in this very square, and the Vicar, having previously
obtained the consent of our cardinal, as I told you yesterday, gave
orders to the bargello to dispose his men in such a way as to catch the
young people in the very act of running away, and to arrest them. The
orders were executed, but the 'sbirri' found out, when they returned to
the bargello, that they had met with only a half success, the woman who
got out of the carriage with the young man not belonging to that species
likely to be carried off. Soon afterwards a spy informed the bargello
that, at the very moment the arrest was executed, he had seen a young
abbe run away very rapidly and take refuge in this palace, and the
suspicion immediately arose that it might be the missing young lady in
the disguise of an ecclesiastic. The bargello reported to the
Vicar-General the failure of his men, as well as the account given by the
spy, and the Prelate, sharing the suspicion of the police, sent to his
eminence, our master, requesting him to have the person in question, man
or woman, turned out of the palace, unless such persons should happen to
be known to his excellency, and therefore above suspicion. Cardinal
Acquaviva was made acquainted with these circumstances at nine this
morning through the auditor you met in my room, and he promised to have
the person sent away unless she belonged to his household.

"According to his promise, the cardinal ordered the palace to be
searched, but, in less than a quarter of an hour, the major-domo received
orders to stop, and the only reason for these new instructions must be
this:

"I am told by the major-domo that at nine o'clock exactly a very
handsome, young abbe, whom he immediately judged to be a girl in
disguise, asked him to deliver a note to his eminence, and that the
cardinal, after reading it, had desired the said abbe be brought to his
apartment, which he has not left since. As the order to stop searching
the palace was given immediately after the introduction of the abbe to
the cardinal, it is easy enough to suppose that this ecclesiastic is no
other than the young girl missed by the police, who took refuge in the
palace in which she must have passed the whole night."

"I suppose," said I, "that his eminence will give her up to-day, if not
to the bargello, at least to the Vicar-General."

"No, not even to the Pope himself," answered Gama. "You have not yet a
right idea of the protection of our cardinal, and that protection is
evidently granted to her, since the young person is not only in the
palace of his eminence, but also in his own apartment and under his own
guardianship."

The whole affair being in itself very interesting, my attention could not
appear extraordinary to Gama, however suspicious he might be naturally,
and I was certain that he would not have told me anything if he had
guessed the share I had taken in the adventure, and the interest I must
have felt in it.

The next day, Gama came to my room with a radiant countenance, and
informed me that the Cardinal-Vicar was aware of the ravisher being my
friend, and supposed that I was likewise the friend of the girl, as she
was the daughter of my French teacher. "Everybody," he added, "is
satisfied that you knew the whole affair, and it is natural to suspect
that the poor girl spent the night in your room. I admire your prudent
reserve during our conversation of yesterday. You kept so well on your
guard that I would have sworn you knew nothing whatever of the affair."

"And it is the truth," I answered, very seriously; "I have only learned
all the circumstances from you this moment. I know the girl, but I have
not seen her for six weeks, since I gave up my French lessons; I am much
better acquainted with the young man, but he never confided his project
to me. However, people may believe whatever they please. You say that it
is natural for the girl to have passed the night in my room, but you will
not mind my laughing in the face of those who accept their own
suppositions as realities."

"That, my dear friend," said the abbe, "is one of the vices of the
Romans; happy those who can afford to laugh at it; but this slander may
do you harm, even in the mind of our cardinal."

As there was no performance at the Opera that night, I went to the
cardinal's reception; I found no difference towards me either in the
cardinal's manners, or in those of any other person, and the marchioness
was even more gracious than usual.

After dinner, on the following day, Gama informed me that the cardinal
had sent the young girl to a convent in which she would be well treated
at his eminence's expense, and that he was certain that she would leave
it only to become the wife of the young doctor.

"I should be very happy if it should turn out so," I replied; "for they
are both most estimable people."

Two days afterwards, I called upon Father Georgi, and he told me, with an
air of sorrow, that the great news of the day in Rome was the failure of
the attempt to carry off Dalacqua's daughter, and that all the honour of
the intrigue was given to me, which displeased him much. I told him what
I had already told Gama, and he appeared to believe me, but he added that
in Rome people did not want to know things as they truly were, but only
as they wished them to be.

"It is known, that you have been in the habit of going every morning to
Dalacqua's house; it is known that the young man often called on you;
that is quite enough. People do not care, to know the circumstances which
might counteract the slander, but only those, likely to give it new force
for slander is vastly relished in the Holy City. Your innocence will not
prevent the whole adventure being booked to your account, if, in forty
years time you were proposed as pope in the conclave."

During the following days the fatal adventure began to cause me more
annoyance than I could express, for everyone mentioned it to me, and I
could see clearly that people pretended to believe what I said only
because they did not dare to do otherwise. The marchioness told me
jeeringly that the Signora Dalacqua had contracted peculiar obligations
towards me, but my sorrow was very great when, during the last days of
the carnival, I remarked that Cardinal Acquaviva's manner had become
constrained, although I was the only person who observed the change.

The noise made by the affair was, however, beginning to subside, when, in
the first days of Lent, the cardinal desired me to come to his private
room, and spoke as follows:

"The affair of the girl Dalacqua is now over; it is no longer spoken of,
but the verdict of the public is that you and I have profited by the
clumsiness of the young man who intended to carry her off. In reality I
care little for such a verdict, for, under similar circumstances, I
should always act in a similar manner, and I do not wish to know that
which no one can compel you to confess, and which, as a man of honour,
you must not admit. If you had no previous knowledge of the intrigue, and
had actually turned the girl out of your room (supposing she did come to
you), you would have been guilty of a wrong and cowardly action, because
you would have sealed her misery for the remainder of her days, and it
would not have caused you to escape the suspicion of being an accomplice,
while at the same time it would have attached to you the odium of
dastardly treachery. Notwithstanding all I have just said, you can easily
imagine that, in spite of my utter contempt for all gossiping fools, I
cannot openly defy them. I therefore feel myself compelled to ask you not
only to quit my service, but even to leave Rome. I undertake to supply
you with an honourable pretext for your departure, so as to insure you
the continuation of the respect which you may have secured through the
marks of esteem I have bestowed upon you. I promise you to whisper in the
ear of any person you may choose, and even to inform everybody, that you
are going on an important mission which I have entrusted to you. You have
only to name the country where you want to go; I have friends everywhere,
and can recommend you to such purpose that you will be sure to find
employment. My letters of recommendation will be in my own handwriting,
and nobody need know where you are going. Meet me to-morrow at the Villa
Negroni, and let me know where my letters are to be addressed. You must
be ready to start within a week. Believe me, I am sorry to lose you; but
the sacrifice is forced upon me by the most absurd prejudice. Go now, and
do not let me witness your grief."

He spoke the last words because he saw my eyes filling with tears, and he
did not give me time to answer. Before leaving his room, I had the
strength of mind to compose myself, and I put on such an air of
cheerfulness that the Abbe Gama, who took me to his room to drink some
coffee, complimented me upon my happy looks.

"I am sure," he said, "that they are caused by the conversation you have
had with his eminence."

"You are right; but you do not know the sorrow at my heart which I try
not to shew outwardly."

"What sorrow?"

"I am afraid of failing in a difficult mission which the cardinal has
entrusted me with this morning. I am compelled to conceal how little
confidence I feel in myself in order not to lessen the good opinion his
eminence is pleased to entertain of me."

"If my advice can be of any service to you, pray dispose of me; but you
are quite right to chew yourself calm and cheerful. Is it any business to
transact in Rome?"

"No; it is a journey I shall have to undertake in a week or ten days."

"Which way?"

"Towards the west."

"Oh! I am not curious to know."

I went out alone and took a walk in the Villa Borghese, where I spent two
hours wrapped in dark despair. I liked Rome, I was on the high road to
fortune, and suddenly I found myself in the abyss, without knowing where
to go, and with all my hopes scattered to the winds. I examined my
conduct, I judged myself severely, I could not find myself guilty of any
crime save of too much kindness, but I perceived how right the good
Father Georgi had been. My duty was not only to take no part in the
intrigue of the two love, but also to change my French teacher the moment
I beard of it; but this was like calling in a doctor after death has
struck the patient. Besides, young as I was, having no experience yet of
misfortune, and still less of the wickedness of society, it was very
difficult for me to have that prudence which a man gains only by long
intercourse with the world.

"Where shall I go?" This was the question which seemed to me impossible
of solution. I thought of it all through the night, and through the
morning, but I thought in vain; after Rome, I was indifferent where I
went to!

In the evening, not caring for any supper, I had gone to my room; the
Abbe Gama came to me with a request from the cardinal not to accept any
invitation to dinner for the next day, as he wanted to speak to me. I
therefore waited upon his eminence the next day at the Villa Negroni; he
was walking with his secretary, whom he dismissed the moment he saw me.
As soon as we were alone, I gave him all the particulars of the intrigue
of the two lovers, and I expressed in the most vivid manner the sorrow I
felt at leaving his service.

"I have no hope of success," I added, "for I am certain that Fortune will
smile upon me only as long as I am near your eminence."

For nearly an hour I told him all the grief with which my heart was
bursting, weeping bitterly; yet I could not move him from his decision.
Kindly, but firmly he pressed me to tell him to what part of Europe I
wanted to go, and despair as much as vexation made me name
Constantinople.

"Constantinople!" he exclaimed, moving back a step or two.

"Yes, monsignor, Constantinople," I repeated, wiping away my tears.

The prelate, a man of great wit, but a Spaniard to the very back-bone,
after remaining silent a few minutes, said, with a smile,

"I am glad you have not chosen Ispahan, as I should have felt rather
embarrassed. When do you wish to go?"

"This day week, as your eminence has ordered me."

"Do you intend to sail from Naples or from Venice?"

"From Venice."

"I will give you such a passport as will be needed, for you will find two
armies in winter-quarters in the Romagna. It strikes me that you may tell
everybody that I sent you to Constantinople, for nobody will believe
you."

This diplomatic suggestion nearly made me smile. The cardinal told me
that I should dine with him, and he left me to join his secretary.

When I returned to the palace, thinking of the choice I had made, I said
to myself, "Either I am mad, or I am obeying the impulse of a mysterious
genius which sends me to Constantinople to work out my fate." I was only
astonished that the cardinal had so readily accepted my choice. "Without
any doubt," I thought, "he did not wish me to believe that he had boasted
of more than he could achieve, in telling me that he had friends
everywhere. But to whom can he recommend me in Constantinople? I have not
the slightest idea, but to Constantinople I must go."

I dined alone with his eminence; he made a great show of peculiar
kindness and I of great satisfaction, for my self-pride, stronger even
than my sorrow, forbade me to let anyone guess that I was in disgrace. My
deepest grief was, however, to leave the marchioness, with whom I was in
love, and from whom I had not obtained any important favour.

Two days afterwards, the cardinal gave me a passport for Venice, and a
sealed letter addressed to Osman Bonneval, Pacha of Caramania, in
Constantinople. There was no need of my saying anything to anyone, but,
as the cardinal had not forbidden me to do it, I shewed the address on
the letter to all my acquaintances.

The Chevalier de Lezze, the Venetian Ambassador, gave me a letter for a
wealthy Turk, a very worthy man who had been his friend; Don Gaspar and
Father Georgi asked me to write to them, but the Abbe Gams, laughed, and
said he was quite sure I was not going to Constantinople.

I went to take my farewell of Donna Cecilia, who had just received a
letter from Lucrezia, imparting the news that she would soon be a mother.
I also called upon Angelique and Don Francisco, who had lately been
married and had not invited me to the wedding.

When I called to take Cardinal Acquaviva's final instructions he gave me
a purse containing one hundred ounces, worth seven hundred sequins. I had
three hundred more, so that my fortune amounted to one thousand sequins;
I kept two hundred, and for the rest I took a letter of exchange upon a
Ragusan who was established in Ancona. I left Rome in the coach with a
lady going to Our Lady of Loretto, to fulfil a vow made during a severe
illness of her daughter, who accompanied her. The young lady was ugly; my
journey was a rather tedious one.




CHAPTER XI

     My Short But Rather Too Gay Visit To Ancona--Cecilia,
     Marina, Bellino--the Greek Slave of the Lazzaretto--Bellino
     Discovers Himself

I arrived in Ancona on the 25th of February, 1744, and put up at the best
inn. Pleased with my room, I told mine host to prepare for me a good meat
dinner; but he answered that during Lent all good Catholics eat nothing
but fish.

"The Holy Father has granted me permission to eat meat."

"Let me see your permission."

"He gave it to me by word of mouth."

"Reverend sir, I am not obliged to believe you."

"You are a fool."

"I am master in my own house, and I beg you will go to some other inn."

Such an answer, coupled to a most unexpected notice to quit, threw me
into a violent passion. I was swearing, raving, screaming, when suddenly
a grave-looking individual made his appearance in my room, and said to
me:

"Sir, you are wrong in calling for meat, when in Ancona fish is much
better; you are wrong in expecting the landlord to believe you on your
bare word; and if you have obtained the permission from the Pope, you
have been wrong in soliciting it at your age; you have been wrong in not
asking for such permission in writing; you are wrong in calling the host
a fool, because it is a compliment that no man is likely to accept in his
own house; and, finally, you are wrong in making such an uproar."

Far from increasing my bad temper, this individual, who had entered my
room only to treat me to a sermon, made me laugh.

"I willingly plead guilty, sir," I answered, "to all the counts which you
allege against me; but it is raining, it is getting late, I am tired and
hungry, and therefore you will easily understand that I do not feel
disposed to change my quarters. Will you give me some supper, as the
landlord refuses to do so?"

"No," he replied, with great composure, "because I am a good Catholic and
fast. But I will undertake to make it all right for you with the
landlord, who will give you a good supper."

Thereupon he went downstairs, and I, comparing my hastiness to his calm,
acknowledged the man worthy of teaching me some lessons. He soon came up
again, informed me that peace was signed, and that I would be served
immediately.

"Will you not take supper with me?"

"No, but I will keep you company."

I accepted his offer, and to learn who he was, I told him my name, giving
myself the title of secretary to Cardinal Acquaviva.

"My name is Sancio Pico," he said; "I am a Castilian, and the
'proveditore' of the army of H. C. M., which is commanded by Count de
Gages under the orders of the generalissimo, the Duke of Modem."

My excellent appetite astonished him, and he enquired whether I had
dined. "No," said I; and I saw his countenance assume an air of
satisfaction.

"Are you not afraid such a supper will hurt you?" he said.

"On the contrary, I hope it will do me a great deal of good."

"Then you have deceived the Pope?"

"No, for I did not tell him that I had no appetite, but only that I liked
meat better than fish."

"If you feel disposed to hear some good music," he said a moment after,
"follow me to the next room; the prima donna of Ancona lives there."

The words prima donna interested me at once, and I followed him. I saw,
sitting before a table, a woman already somewhat advanced in age, with
two young girls and two boys, but I looked in vain for the actress, whom
Don Sancio Pico at last presented to me in the shape of one of the two
boys, who was remarkably handsome and might have been seventeen. I
thought he was a 'castrato' who, as is the custom in Rome, performed all
the parts of a prima donna. The mother presented to, me her other son,
likewise very good-looking, but more manly than the 'castrato', although
younger. His name was Petronio, and, keeping up the transformations of
the family, he was the first female dancer at the opera. The eldest girl,
who was also introduced to me, was named Cecilia, and studied music; she
was twelve years old; the youngest, called Marina, was only eleven, and
like her brother Petronio was consecrated to the worship of Terpsichore.
Both the girls were very pretty.

The family came from Bologna and lived upon the talent of its members;
cheerfulness and amiability replaced wealth with them. Bellino, such was
the name of the castrato, yielding to the entreaties of Don Sancio, rose
from the table, went to the harpiscord, and sang with the voice of an
angel and with delightful grace. The Castilian listened with his eyes
closed in an ecstasy of enjoyment, but I, far from closing my eyes, gazed
into Bellino's, which seemed to dart amorous lightnings upon me. I could
discover in him some of the features of Lucrezia and the graceful manner
of the marchioness, and everything betrayed a beautiful woman, for his
dress concealed but imperfectly the most splendid bosom. The consequence
was that, in spite of his having been introduced as a man, I fancied that
the so-called Bellino was a disguised beauty, and, my imagination taking
at once the highest flight, I became thoroughly enamoured.

We spent two very pleasant hours, and I returned to my room accompanied
by the Castilian. "I intend to leave very early to-morrow morning," he
said, "for Sinigaglia, with the Abbe Vilmarcati, but I expect to return
for supper the day after to-morrow." I wished him a happy journey, saying
that we would most 'likely meet on the road, as I should probably leave
Ancona myself on the same day, after paying a visit to my banker.

I went to bed thinking of Bellino and of the impression he had made upon
me; I was sorry to go away without having proved to him that I was not
the dupe of his disguise. Accordingly, I was well pleased to see him
enter my room in the morning as soon as I had opened my door. He came to
offer me the services of his young brother Petronio during my stay in
Ancona, instead of my engaging a valet de place. I willingly agreed to
the proposal, and sent Petronio to get coffee for all the family.

I asked Bellino to sit on my bed with the intention of making love to
him, and of treating him like a girl, but the two young sisters ran into
my room and disturbed my plans. Yet the trio formed before me a very
pleasing sight; they represented natural beauty and artless cheerfulness
of three different kinds; unobtrusive familiarity, theatrical wit,
pleasing playfulness, and pretty Bolognese manners which I witnessed for
the first time; all this would have sufficed to cheer me if I had been
downcast. Cecilia and Marina were two sweet rosebuds, which, to bloom in
all their beauty, required only the inspiration of love, and they would
certainly have had the preference over Bellino if I had seen in him only
the miserable outcast of mankind, or rather the pitiful victim of
sacerdotal cruelty, for, in spite of their youth, the two amiable girls
offered on their dawning bosom the precious image of womanhood.

Petronio came with the coffee which he poured out, and I sent some to the
mother, who never left her room. Petronio was a true male harlot by taste
and by profession. The species is not scare in Italy, where the offence
is not regarded with the wild and ferocious intolerance of England and
Spain. I had given him one sequin to pay for the coffee, and told him to
keep the change, and, to chew me his gratitude, he gave me a voluptuous
kiss with half-open lips, supposing in me a taste which I was very far
from entertaining. I disabused him, but he did not seem the least
ashamed. I told him to order dinner for six persons, but he remarked that
he would order it only for four, as he had to keep his dear mother
company; she always took her dinner in bed. Everyone to his taste, I
thought, and I let him do as he pleased.

Two minutes after he had gone, the landlord came to my room and said,
"Reverend sir, the persons you have invited here have each the appetite
of two men at least; I give you notice of it, because I must charge
accordingly." "All right," I replied, "but let us have a good dinner."

When I was dressed, I thought I ought to pay my compliments to the
compliant mother. I went to her room, and congratulated her upon her
children. She thanked me for the present I had given to Petronio, and
began to make me the confidant of her distress. "The manager of the
theatre," she said, "is a miser who has given us only fifty Roman crowns
for the whole carnival. We have spent them for our living, and, to return
to Bologna, we shall have to walk and beg our way." Her confidence moved
my pity, so I took a gold quadruple from my purse and offered it to her;
she wept for joy and gratitude.

"I promise you another gold quadruple, madam," I said, "if you will
confide in me entirely. Confess that Bellino is a pretty woman in
disguise."

"I can assure you it is not so, although he has the appearance of a
woman."

"Not only the appearance, madam, but the tone, the manners; I am a good
judge."

"Nevertheless, he is a boy, for he has had to be examined before he could
sing on the stage here."

"And who examined him?"

"My lord bishop's chaplain."

"A chaplain?"

"Yes, and you may satisfy yourself by enquiring from him."

"The only way to clear my doubts would be to examine him myself."

"You may, if he has no objection, but truly I cannot interfere, as I do
not know what your intentions are."

"They are quite natural."

I returned to my room and sent Petronio for a bottle of Cyprus wine. He
brought the wine and seven sequins, the change for the doubloon I had
given him. I divided them between Bellino, Cecilia and Marina, and begged
the two young girls to leave me alone with their brother.

"Bellino, I am certain that your natural conformation is different from
mine; my dear, you are a girl."

"I am a man, but a castrato; I have been examined."

"Allow me to examine you likewise, and I will give you a doubloon."

"I cannot, for it is evident that you love me, and such love is condemned
by religion."

"You did not raise these objections with the bishop's chaplain."

"He was an elderly priest, and besides, he only just glanced at me."

"I will know the truth," said I, extending my hand boldly.

But he repulsed me and rose from his chair. His obstinacy vexed me, for I
had already spent fifteen or sixteen sequins to satisfy my curiosity.

I began my dinner with a very bad humour, but the excellent appetite of
my pretty guests brought me round, and I soon thought that, after all,
cheerfulness was better than sulking, and I resolved to make up for my
disappointment with the two charming sisters, who seemed well disposed to
enjoy a frolic.

I began by distributing a few innocent kisses right and left, as I sat
between them near a good fire, eating chestnuts which we wetted with
Cyprus wine. But very soon my greedy hands touched every part which my
lips could not kiss, and Cecilia, as well as Marina, delighted in the
game. Seeing that Bellino was smiling, I kissed him likewise, and his
half-open ruffle attracting my hand, I ventured and went in without
resistance. The chisel of Praxiteles had never carved a finer bosom!

"Oh! this is enough," I exclaimed; "I can no longer doubt that you are a
beautifully-formed woman!"

"It is," he replied, "the defect of all castrati."

"No, it is the perfection of all handsome women. Bellino, believe me, I
am enough of a good judge to distinguish between the deformed breast of a
castrato, and that of a beautiful woman; and your alabaster bosom belongs
to a young beauty of seventeen summers."

Who does not know that love, inflamed by all that can excite it, never
stops in young people until it is satisfied, and that one favour granted
kindles the wish for a greater one? I had begun well, I tried to go
further and to smother with burning kisses that which my hand was
pressing so ardently, but the false Bellino, as if he had only just been
aware of the illicit pleasure I was enjoying, rose and ran away. Anger
increased in me the ardour of love, and feeling the necessity of calming
myself either by satisfying my ardent desires or by evaporating them, I
begged Cecilia, Bellino's pupil, to sing a few Neapolitan airs.

I then went out to call upon the banker, from whom I took a letter of
exchange at sight upon Bologna, for the amount I had to receive from him,
and on my return, after a light supper with the two young sisters, I
prepared to go to bed, having previously instructed Petronio to order a
carriage for the morning.

I was just locking my door when Cecilia, half undressed, came in to say
that Bellino begged me to take him to Rimini, where he was engaged to
sing in an opera to be performed after Easter.

"Go and tell him, my dear little seraph, that I am ready to do what he
wishes, if he will only grant me in your presence what I desire; I want
to know for a certainty whether he is a man or a woman."

She left me and returned soon, saying that Bellino had gone to bed, but
that if I would postpone my departure for one day only he promised to
satisfy me on the morrow.

"Tell me the truth, Cecilia, and I will give you six sequins."

"I cannot earn them, for I have never seen him naked, and I cannot swear
to his being a girl. But he must be a man, otherwise he would not have
been allowed to perform here."

"Well, I will remain until the day after to-morrow, provided you keep me
company tonight."

"Do you love me very much?"

"Very much indeed, if you shew yourself very kind."

"I will be very kind, for I love you dearly likewise. I will go and tell
my mother."

"Of course you have a lover?"

"I never had one."

She left my room, and in a short time came back full of joy, saying that
her mother believed me an honest man; she of course meant a generous one.
Cecilia locked the door, and throwing herself in my arms covered me with
kisses. She was pretty, charming, but I was not in love with her, and I
was not able to say to her as to Lucrezia: "You have made me so happy!"
But she said it herself, and I did not feel much flattered, although I
pretended to believe her. When I woke up in the morning I gave her a
tender salutation, and presenting her with three doubloons, which must
have particularly delighted the mother, I sent her away without losing my
time in promising everlasting constancy--a promise as absurd as it is
trifling, and which the most virtuous man ought never to make even to the
most beautiful of women.

After breakfast I sent for mine host and ordered an excellent supper for
five persons, feeling certain that Don Sancio, whom I expected in the
evening, would not refuse to honour me by accepting my invitation, and
with that idea I made up my mind to go without my dinner. The Bolognese
family did not require to imitate my diet to insure a good appetite for
the evening.

I then summoned Bellino to my room, and claimed the performance of his
promise but he laughed, remarked that the day was not passed yet, and
said that he was certain of traveling with me.

"I fairly warn you that you cannot accompany me unless I am fully
satisfied."

"Well, I will satisfy you."

"Shall we go and take a walk together?"

"Willingly; I will dress myself."

While I was waiting for him, Marina came in with a dejected countenance,
enquiring how she had deserved my contempt.

"Cecilia has passed the night with you, Bellino will go with you
to-morrow, I am the most unfortunate of us all."

"Do you want money?"

"No, for I love you."

"But, Marinetta, you are too young."

"I am much stronger than my sister."

"Perhaps you have a lover."

"Oh! no."

"Very well, we can try this evening."

"Good! Then I will tell mother to prepare clean sheets for to-morrow
morning; otherwise everybody here would know that I slept with you."

I could not help admiring the fruits of a theatrical education, and was
much amused.

Bellino came back, we went out together, and we took our walk towards the
harbour. There were several vessels at anchor, and amongst them a
Venetian ship and a Turkish tartan. We went on board the first which we
visited with interest, but not seeing anyone of my acquaintance, we rowed
towards the Turkish tartan, where the most romantic surprise awaited me.
The first person I met on board was the beautiful Greek woman I had left
in Ancona, seven months before, when I went away from the lazzaretto. She
was seated near the old captain, of whom I enquired, without appearing to
notice his handsome slave, whether he had any fine goods to sell. He took
us to his cabin, but as I cast a glance towards the charming Greek, she
expressed by her looks all her delight at such an unexpected meeting.

I pretended not to be pleased with the goods shewn by the Turk, and under
the impulse of inspiration I told him that I would willingly buy
something pretty which would take the fancy of his better-half. He
smiled, and the Greek slave-having whispered a few words to him, he left
the cabin. The moment he was out of sight, this new Aspasia threw herself
in my arms, saying, "Now is your time!" I would not be found wanting in
courage, and taking the most convenient position in such a place, I did
to her in one instant that which her old master had not done in five
years. I had not yet reached the goal of my wishes, when the unfortunate
girl, hearing her master, tore herself from my arms with a deep sigh, and
placing herself cunningly in front of me, gave me time to repair the
disorder of my dress, which might have cost me my life, or at least all I
possessed to compromise the affair. In that curious situation, I was
highly amused at the surprise of Bellino, who stood there trembling like
an aspen leaf.

The trifles chosen by the handsome slave cost me only thirty sequins.
'Spolaitis', she said to me in her own language, and the Turk telling her
that she ought to kiss me, she covered her face with her hands, and ran
away. I left the ship more sad than pleased, for I regretted that, in
spite of her courage, she should have enjoyed only an incomplete
pleasure. As soon as we were in our row boat, Bellino, who had recovered
from his fright, told me that I had just made him acquainted with a
phenomenon, the reality of which he could not admit, and which gave him a
very strange idea of my nature; that, as far as the Greek girl was
concerned, he could not make her out, unless I should assure him that
every woman in her country was like her. "How unhappy they must be!" he
added.

"Do you think," I asked, "that coquettes are happier?"

"No, but I think that when a woman yields to love, she should not be
conquered before she has fought with her own desires; she should not give
way to the first impulse of a lustful desire and abandon herself to the
first man who takes her fancy, like an animal--the slave of sense. You
must confess that the Greek woman has given you an evident proof that you
had taken her fancy, but that she has at the same time given you a proof
not less certain of her beastly lust, and of an effrontery which exposed
her to the shame of being repulsed, for she could not possibly know
whether you would feel as well disposed for her as she felt for you. She
is very handsome, and it all turned out well, but the adventure has
thrown me into a whirlpool of agitation which I cannot yet control."

I might easily have put a stop to Bellino's perplexity, and rectified the
mistake he was labouring under; but such a confession would not have
ministered to my self-love, and I held my peace, for, if Bellino happened
to be a girl, as I suspected, I wanted her to be convinced that I
attached, after all, but very little importance to the great affair, and
that it was not worth while employing cunning expedients to obtain it.

We returned to the inn, and, towards evening, hearing Don Sancio's
travelling carriage roll into the yard, I hastened to meet him, and told
him that I hoped he would excuse me if I had felt certain that he would
not refuse me the honour of his company to supper with Bellino. He
thanked me politely for the pleasure I was so delicately offering him,
and accepted my invitation.

The most exquisite dishes, the most delicious wines of Spain, and, more
than everything else, the cheerfulness and the charming voices of Bellino
and of Cecilia, gave the Castilian five delightful hours. He left me at
midnight, saying that he could not declare himself thoroughly pleased
unless I promised to sup with him the next evening with the same guests.
It would compel me to postpone my departure for another day, but I
accepted.

As soon as Don Sancio had gone, I called upon Bellino to fulfil his
promise, but he answered that Marinetta was waiting for me, and that, as
I was not going away the next day, he would find an opportunity of
satisfying my doubts; and wishing me a good night, he left the room.

Marinetta, as cheerful as a lark, ran to lock the door and came back to
me, her eyes beaming with ardour. She was more formed than Cecilia,
although one year younger, and seemed anxious to convince me of her
superiority, but, thinking that the fatigue of the preceding night might
have exhausted my strength, she unfolded all the amorous ideas of her
mind, explained at length all she knew of the great mystery she was going
to enact with me, and of all the contrivances she had had recourse to in
order to acquire her imperfect knowledge, the whole interlarded with the
foolish talk natural to her age. I made out that she was afraid of my not
finding her a maiden, and of my reproaching her about it. Her anxiety
pleased me, and I gave her a new confidence by telling her that nature
had refused to many young girls what is called maidenhood, and that only
a fool could be angry with a girl for such a reason.

My science gave her courage and confidence, and I was compelled to
acknowledge that she was very superior to her sister.

"I am delighted you find me so," she said; "we must not sleep at all
throughout the night."

"Sleep, my darling, will prove our friend, and our strength renewed by
repose will reward you in the morning for what you may suppose lost
time."

And truly, after a quiet sleep, the morning was for her a succession of
fresh triumphs, and I crowned her happiness by sending her away with
three doubloons, which she took to her mother, and which gave the good
woman an insatiable desire to contract new obligations towards
Providence.

I went out to get some money from the banker, as I did not know what
might happen during my journey. I had enjoyed myself, but I had spent too
much: yet there was Bellino who, if a girl, was not to find me less
generous than I had been with the two young sisters. It was to be decided
during the day, and I fancied that I was sure of the result.

There are some persons who pretend that life is only a succession of
misfortunes, which is as much as to say that life itself is a misfortune;
but if life is a misfortune, death must be exactly the reverse and
therefore death must be happiness, since death is the very reverse of
life. That deduction may appear too finely drawn. But those who say that
life is a succession of misfortunes are certainly either ill or poor;
for, if they enjoyed good health, if they had cheerfulness in their heart
and money in their purse, if they had for their enjoyment a Cecilia, a
Marinetta, and even a more lovely beauty in perspective, they would soon
entertain a very different opinion of life! I hold them to be a race of
pessimists, recruited amongst beggarly philosophers and knavish,
atrabilious theologians. If pleasure does exist, and if life is necessary
to enjoy pleasure, then life is happiness. There are misfortunes, as I
know by experience; but the very existence of such misfortunes proves
that the sum-total of happiness is greater. Because a few thorns are to
be found in a basket full of roses, is the existence of those beautiful
flowers to be denied? No; it is a slander to deny that life is happiness.
When I am in a dark room, it pleases me greatly to see through a window
an immense horizon before me.

As supper-time was drawing near, I went to Don Sancio, whom I found in
magnificently-furnished apartments. The table was loaded with silver
plate, and his servants were in livery. He was alone, but all his guests
arrived soon after me--Cecilia, Marina, and Bellino, who, either by
caprice or from taste, was dressed as a woman. The two young sisters,
prettily arranged, looked charming, but Bellino, in his female costume,
so completely threw them into the shade, that my last doubt vanished.

"Are you satisfied," I said to Don Sancio, "that Bellino is a woman?"

"Woman or man, what do I care! I think he is a very pretty 'castrato',
and 'I have seen many as good-looking as he is."

"But are you sure he is a 'castrato'?"

"'Valgame Dios'!" answered the grave Castilian, "I have not the slightest
wish to ascertain the truth."

Oh, how widely different our thoughts were! I admired in him the wisdom
of which I was so much in need, and did not venture upon any more
indiscreet questions. During the supper, however, my greedy eyes could
not leave that charming being; my vicious nature caused me to feel
intense voluptuousness in believing him to be of that sex to which I
wanted him to belong.

Don Sancio's supper was excellent, and, as a matter of course, superior
to mine; otherwise the pride of the Castilian would have felt humbled. As
a general rule, men are not satisfied with what is good; they want the
best, or, to speak more to the point, the most. He gave us white
truffles, several sorts of shell-fish, the best fish of the Adriatic, dry
champagne, peralta, sherry and pedroximenes wines.

After that supper worthy of Lucullus, Bellino sang with a voice of such
beauty that it deprived us of the small amount of reason left in us by
the excellent wine. His movements, the expression of his looks, his gait,
his walk, his countenance, his voice, and, above all, my own instinct,
which told me that I could not possibly feel for a castrato what I felt
for Bellino, confirmed me in my hopes; yet it was necessary that my eyes
should ascertain the truth.

After many compliments and a thousand thanks, we took leave of the grand
Spaniard, and went to my room, where the mystery was at last to be
unravelled. I called upon Bellino to keep his word, or I threatened to
leave him alone the next morning at day-break.

I took him by the hand, and we seated ourselves near the fire. I
dismissed Cecilia and Marina, and I said to him,

"Bellino, everything must have an end; you have promised: it will soon be
over. If you are what you represent yourself to be, I will let you go
back to your own room; if you are what I believe you to be, and if you
consent to remain with me to-night, I will give you one hundred sequins,
and we will start together tomorrow morning."

"You must go alone, and forgive me if I cannot fulfil my promise. I am
what I told you, and I can neither reconcile myself to the idea of
exposing my shame before you, nor lay myself open to the terrible
consequences that might follow the solution of your doubts."

"There can be no consequences, since there will be an end to it at the
moment I have assured myself that you are unfortunate enough to be what
you say, and without ever mentioning the circumstances again, I promise
to take you with me to-morrow and to leave you at Rimini."

"No, my mind is made up; I cannot satisfy your curiosity."

Driven to madness by his words, I was very near using violence, but
subduing my angry feelings, I endeavored to succeed by gentle means and
by going straight to the spot where the mystery could be solved. I was
very near it, when his hand opposed a very strong resistance. I repeated
my efforts, but Bellino, rising suddenly, repulsed me, and I found myself
undone. After a few moments of calm, thinking I should take him by
surprise, I extended my hand, but I drew back terrified, for I fancied
that I had recognized in him a man, and a degraded man, contemptible less
on account of his degradation than for the want of feeling I thought I
could read on his countenance. Disgusted, confused, and almost blushing
for myself, I sent him away.

His sisters came to my room, but I dismissed them, sending word to their
brother that he might go with me, without any fear of further
indiscretion on my part. Yet, in spite of the conviction I thought I had
acquired, Bellino, even such as I believe him to be, filled my thoughts;
I could not make it out.

Early the next morning I left Ancona with him, distracted by the tears of
the two charming sisters and loaded with the blessings of the mother who,
with beads in hand, mumbled her 'paternoster', and repeated her constant
theme: 'Dio provedera'.

The trust placed in Providence by most of those persons who earn their
living by some profession forbidden by religion is neither absurd, nor
false, nor deceitful; it is real and even godly, for it flows from an
excellent source. Whatever may be the ways of Providence, human beings
must always acknowledge it in its action, and those who call upon
Providence independently of all external consideration must, at the
bottom, be worthy, although guilty of transgressing its laws.

          'Pulchra Laverna,
   Da mihi fallere; da justo sanctoque videri;
   Noctem peccatis, et fraudibus objice nubem.'

Such was the way in which, in the days of Horace, robbers addressed their
goddess, and I recollect a Jesuit who told me once that Horace would not
have known his own language, if he had said justo sanctoque: but there
were ignorant men even amongst the Jesuits, and robbers most likely have
but little respect for the rules of grammar.

The next morning I started with Bellino, who, believing me to be
undeceived, could suppose that I would not shew any more curiosity about
him, but we had not been a quarter of an hour together when he found out
his mistake, for I could not let my looks fall upon his splendid eyes
without feeling in me a fire which the sight of a man could not have
ignited. I told him that all his features were those of a woman, and that
I wanted the testimony of my eyes before I could feel perfectly
satisfied, because the protuberance I had felt in a certain place might
be only a freak of nature. "Should it be the case," I added, "I should
have no difficulty in passing over a deformity which, in reality, is only
laughable. Bellino, the impression you produce upon me, this sort of
magnetism, your bosom worthy of Venus herself, which you have once
abandoned to my eager hand, the sound of your voice, every movement of
yours, assure me that you do not belong to my sex. Let me see for myself,
and, if my conjectures are right, depend upon my faithful love; if, on
the contrary, I find that I have been mistaken, you can rely upon my
friendship. If you refuse me, I shall be compelled to believe that you
are cruelly enjoying my misery, and that you have learned in the most
accursed school that the best way of preventing a young man from curing
himself of an amorous passion is to excite it constantly; but you must
agree with me that, to put such tyranny in practice, it is necessary to
hate the person it is practised upon, and, if that be so, I ought to call
upon my reason to give me the strength necessary to hate you likewise."

I went on speaking for a long time; Bellino did not answer, but he seemed
deeply moved. At last I told him that, in the fearful state to which I
was reduced by his resistance, I should be compelled to treat him without
any regard for his feelings, and find out the truth by force. He answered
with much warmth and dignity: "Recollect that you are not my master, that
I am in your hands, because I had faith in your promise, and that, if you
use violence, you will be guilty of murder. Order the postillion to stop,
I will get out of the carriage, and you may rely upon my not complaining
of your treatment."

Those few words were followed by a torrent of tears, a sight which I
never could resist. I felt myself moved in the inmost recesses of my
soul, and I almost thought that I had been wrong. I say almost, because,
had I been convinced of it, I would have thrown myself at his feet
entreating pardon; but, not feeling myself competent to stand in judgment
in my own cause, I satisfied myself by remaining dull and silent, and I
never uttered one word until we were only half a mile from Sinigaglia,
where I intended to take supper and to remain for the night. Having
fought long enough with my own feelings, I said to him;

"We might have spent a little time in Rimini like good friends, if you
had felt any friendship for me, for, with a little kind compliance, you
could have easily cured me of my passion."

"It would not cure you," answered Bellino, courageously, but with a
sweetness of tone which surprised me; "no, you would not be cured,
whether you found me to be man or woman, for you are in love with me
independently of my sex, and the certainty you would acquire would make
you furious. In such a state, should you find me inexorable, you would
very likely give way to excesses which would afterwards cause you deep
sorrow."

"You expect to make me admit that you are right, but you are completely
mistaken, for I feel that I should remain perfectly calm, and that by
complying with my wishes you would gain my friendship."

"I tell you again that you would become furious."

"Bellino, that which has made me furious is the sight of your charms,
either too real or too completely deceiving, the power of which you
cannot affect to ignore. You have not been afraid to ignite my amorous
fury, how can you expect me to believe you now, when you pretend to fear
it, and when I am only asking you to let me touch a thing, which, if it
be as you say, will only disgust me?"

"Ah! disgust you; I am quite certain of the contrary. Listen to me. Were
I a girl, I feel I could not resist loving you, but, being a man, it is
my duty not to grant what you desire, for your passion, now very natural,
would then become monstrous. Your ardent nature would be stronger than
your reason, and your reason itself would easily come to the assistance
of your senses and of your nature. That violent clearing-up of the
mystery, were you to obtain it, would leave you deprived of all control
over yourself. Disappointed in not finding what you had expected, you
would satisfy your passion upon that which you would find, and the result
would, of course, be an abomination. How can you, intelligent as you are,
flatter yourself that, finding me to be a man, you could all at once
cease to love me? Would the charms which you now see in me cease to exist
then? Perhaps their power would, on the contrary, be enhanced, and your
passion, becoming brutal, would lead you to take any means your
imagination suggested to gratify it. You would persuade yourself that you
might change me into a woman, or, what is worse, that you might change
yourself into one. Your passion would invent a thousand sophisms to
justify your love, decorated with the fine appellation of friendship, and
you would not fail to allege hundreds of similarly disgusting cases in
order to excuse your conduct. You would certainly never find me
compliant; and how am I to know that you would not threaten me with
death?"

"Nothing of the sort would happen, Bellino," I answered, rather tired of
the length of his argument, "positively nothing, and I am sure you are
exaggerating your fears. Yet I am bound to tell you that, even if all you
say should happen, it seems to me that to allow what can strictly be
considered only as a temporary fit of insanity, would prove a less evil
than to render incurable a disease of the mind which reason would soon
cut short."

Thus does a poor philosopher reason when he takes it into his head to
argue at those periods during which a passion raging in his soul makes
all its faculties wander. To reason well, we must be under the sway
neither of love nor of anger, for those two passions have one thing in
common which is that, in their excess, they lower us to the condition of
brutes acting only under the influence of their predominating instinct,
and, unfortunately, we are never more disposed to argue than when we feel
ourselves under the influence of either of those two powerful human
passions.

We arrived at Sinigaglia late at night, and I went to the best inn, and,
after choosing a comfortable room, ordered supper. As there was but one
bed in the room, I asked Bellino, in as calm a tone as I could assume,
whether he would have a fire lighted in another chamber, and my surprise
may be imagined when he answered quietly that he had no objection to
sleep in the same bed with me. Such an answer, however, unexpected, was
necessary to dispel the angry feelings under which I was labouring. I
guessed that I was near the denouement of the romance, but I was very far
from congratulating myself, for I did not know whether the denouement
would prove agreeable or not. I felt, however, a real satisfaction at
having conquered, and was sure of my self-control, in case the senses, my
natural instinct, led me astray. But if I found myself in the right, I
thought I could expect the most precious favours.

We sat down to supper opposite each other, and during the meal, his
words, his countenance, the expression of his beautiful eyes, his sweet
and voluptuous smile, everything seemed to announce that he had had
enough of playing a part which must have proved as painful to him as to
me.

A weight was lifted off my mind, and I managed to shorten the supper as
much as possible. As soon as we had left the table, my amiable companion
called for a night-lamp, undressed himself, and went to bed. I was not
long in following him, and the reader will soon know the nature of a
denouement so long and so ardently desired; in the mean time I beg to
wish him as happy a night as the one which was then awaiting me.




CHAPTER XII

     Bellino's History--I Am Put Under Arrest--I Run Away Against
     My Will--My Return To Rimini, and My Arrival In Bologna

Dear reader, I said enough at the end of the last chapter to make you
guess what happened, but no language would be powerful enough to make you
realize all the voluptuousness which that charming being had in store for
me. She came close to me the moment I was in bed. Without uttering one
word our lips met, and I found myself in the ecstasy of enjoyment before
I had had time to seek for it. After so complete a victory, what would my
eyes and my fingers have gained from investigations which could not give
me more certainty than I had already obtained? I could not take my gaze
off that beautiful face, which was all aflame with the ardour of love.

After a moment of quiet rapture, a spark lighted up in our veins a fresh
conflagration which we drowned in a sea of new delights. Bellino felt
bound to make me forget my sufferings, and to reward me by an ardour
equal to the fire kindled by her charms.

The happiness I gave her increased mine twofold, for it has always been
my weakness to compose the four-fifths of my enjoyment from the sum-total
of the happiness which I gave the charming being from whom I derived it.
But such a feeling must necessarily cause hatred for old age which can
still receive pleasure, but can no longer give enjoyment to another. And
youth runs away from old age, because it is its most cruel enemy.

An interval of repose became necessary, in consequence of the activity of
our enjoyment. Our senses were not tired out, but they required the rest
which renews their sensitiveness and restores the buoyancy necessary to
active service.

Bellino was the first to break our silence.

"Dearest," she said, "are you satisfied now? Have you found me truly
loving?"

"Truly loving? Ah! traitress that you are! Do you, then, confess that I
was not mistaken when I guessed that you were a charming woman? And if
you truly loved me, tell me how you could contrive to defer your
happiness and mine so long? But is it quite certain that I did not make a
mistake?"

"I am yours all over; see for yourself."

Oh, what delightful survey! what charming beauties! what an ocean of
enjoyment! But I could not find any trace of the protuberance which had
so much terrified and disgusted me.

"What has become," I said, "of that dreadful monstrosity?"

"Listen to me," she replied, "and I will tell you everything.

"My name is Therese. My father, a poor clerk in the Institute of Bologna,
had let an apartment in his house to the celebrated Salimberi, a
castrato, and a delightful musician. He was young and handsome, he became
attached to me, and I felt flattered by his affection and by the praise
he lavished upon me. I was only twelve years of age; he proposed to teach
me music, and finding that I had a fine voice, he cultivated it
carefully, and in less than a year I could accompany myself on the
harpsichord. His reward was that which his love for me induced him to
ask, and I granted the reward without feeling any humiliation, for I
worshipped him. Of course, men like yourself are much above men of his
species, but Salimberi was an exception. His beauty, his manners, his
talent, and the rare qualities of his soul, made him superior in my eyes
to all the men I had seen until then. He was modest and reserved, rich
and generous, and I doubt whether he could have found a woman able to
resist him; yet I never heard him boast of having seduced any. The
mutilation practised upon his body had made him a monster, but he was an
angel by his rare qualities and endowments.

"Salimberi was at that time educating a boy of the same age as myself,
who was in Rimini with a music teacher. The father of the boy, who was
poor and had a large family, seeing himself near death, had thought of
having his unfortunate son maimed so that he should become the support of
his brothers with his voice. The name of the boy was Bellino; the good
woman whom you have just seen in Ancona was his mother, and everybody
believes that she is mine.

"I had belonged to Salimberi for about a year, when he announced to me
one day, weeping bitterly, that he was compelled to leave me to go to
Rome, but he promised to see me again. The news threw me into despair. He
had arranged everything for the continuation of my musical education,
but, as he was preparing himself for his departure, my father died very
suddenly, after a short illness, and I was left an orphan.

"Salimberi had not courage enough to resist my tears and my entreaties;
he made up his mind to take me to Rimini, and to place me in the same
house where his young 'protege' was educated. We reached Rimini, and put
up at an inn; after a short rest, Salimberi left me to call upon the
teacher of music, and to make all necessary arrangements respecting me
with him; but he soon returned, looking sad and unhappy; Bellino had died
the day before.

"As he was thinking of the grief which the loss of the young man would
cause his mother, he was struck with the idea of bringing me back to
Bologna under the name of Bellino, where he could arrange for my board
with the mother of the deceased Bellino, who, being very poor, would find
it to her advantage to keep the secret. 'I will give her,' he said,
'everything necessary for the completion of your musical education, and
in four years, I will take you to Dresden (he was in the service of the
Elector of Saxony, King of Poland), not as a girl, but as a castrato.
There we will live together without giving anyone cause for scandal, and
you will remain with me and minister to my happiness until I die. All we
have to do is to represent you as Bellino, and it is very easy, as nobody
knows you in Bologna. Bellino's mother will alone know the secret; her
other children have seen their brother only when he was very young, and
can have no suspicion. But if you love me you must renounce your sex,
lose even the remembrance of it, and leave immediately for Bologna,
dressed as a boy, and under the name of Bellino. You must be very careful
lest anyone should find out that you are a girl; you must sleep alone,
dress yourself in private, and when your bosom is formed, as it will be
in a year or two, it will only be thought a deformity not uncommon
amongst 'castrati'. Besides, before leaving you, I will give you a small
instrument, and teach how to fix it in such manner that, if you had at
any time to submit to an examination, you would easily be mistaken for a
man. If you accept my plan, I feel certain that we can live together in
Dresden without losing the good graces of the queen, who is very
religious. Tell me, now, whether you will accept my proposal?

"He could not entertain any doubt of my consent, for I adored him. As
soon as he had made a boy of me we left Rimini for Bologna, where we
arrived late in the evening. A little gold made everything right with
Bellino's mother; I gave her the name of mother, and she kissed me,
calling me her dear son. Salimberi left us, and returned a short time
afterwards with the instrument which would complete my transformation. He
taught me, in the presence of my new mother, how to fix it with some
tragacanth gum, and I found myself exactly like my friend. I would have
laughed at it, had not my heart been deeply grieved at the departure of
my beloved Salimberi, for he bade me farewell as soon as the curious
operation was completed. People laugh at forebodings; I do not believe in
them myself, but the foreboding of evil, which almost broke my heart as
he gave me his farewell kiss, did not deceive me. I felt the cold
shivering of death run through me; I felt I was looking at him for the
last time, and I fainted away. Alas! my fears proved only too prophetic.
Salimberi died a year ago in the Tyrol in the prime of life, with the
calmness of a true philosopher. His death compelled me to earn my living
with the assistance of my musical talent. My mother advised me to
continue to give myself out as a castrato, in the hope of being able to
take me to Rome. I agreed to do so, for I did not feel sufficient energy
to decide upon any other plan. In the meantime she accepted an offer for
the Ancona Theatre, and Petronio took the part of first female dancer; in
this way we played the comedy of 'The World Turned Upside Down.'

"After Salimberi, you are the only man I have known, and, if you like,
you can restore me to my original state, and make me give up the name of
Bellino, which I hate since the death of my protector, and which begins
to inconvenience me. I have only appeared at two theatres, and each time
I have been compelled to submit to the scandalous, degrading examination,
because everywhere I am thought to have too much the appearance of a
girl, and I am admitted only after the shameful test has brought
conviction. Until now, fortunately, I have had to deal only with old
priests who, in their good faith, have been satisfied with a very slight
examination, and have made a favourable report to the bishop; but I might
fall into the hands of some young abbe, and the test would then become a
more severe one. Besides, I find myself exposed to the daily persecutions
of two sorts of beings: those who, like you, cannot and will not believe
me to be a man, and those who, for the satisfaction of their disgusting
propensities, are delighted at my being so, or find it advantageous to
suppose me so. The last particularly annoy me! Their tastes are so
infamous, their habits so low, that I fear I shall murder one of them
some day, when I can no longer control the rage in which their obscene
language throws me. Out of pity, my beloved angel, be generous; and, if
you love me, oh! free me from this state of shame and degradation! Take
me with you. I do not ask to become your wife, that would be too much
happiness; I will only be your friend, your mistress, as I would have
been Salimberi's; my heart is pure and innocent, I feel that I can remain
faithful to my lover through my whole life. Do not abandon me. The love I
have for you is sincere; my affection for Salimberi was innocent; it was
born of my inexperience and of my gratitude, and it is only with you that
I have felt myself truly a woman."

Her emotion, an inexpressible charm which seemed to flow from her lips
and to enforce conviction, made me shed tears of love and sympathy. I
blended my tears with those falling from her beautiful eyes, and deeply
moved, I promised not to abandon her and to make her the sharer of my
fate. Interested in the history, as singular as extraordinary, that she
had just narrated, and having seen nothing in it that did not bear the
stamp of truth, I felt really disposed to make her happy but I could not
believe that I had inspired her with a very deep passion during my short
stay in Ancona, many circumstances of which might, on the contrary, have
had an opposite effect upon her heart.

"If you loved me truly," I said, "how could you let me sleep with your
sisters, out of spite at your resistance?"

"Alas, dearest! think of our great poverty, and how difficult it was for
me to discover myself. I loved you; but was it not natural that I should
suppose your inclination for me only a passing caprice? When I saw you go
so easily from Cecilia to Marinetta, I thought that you would treat me in
the same manner as soon as your desires were satisfied, I was likewise
confirmed in my opinion of your want of constancy and of the little
importance you attached to the delicacy of the sentiment of love, when I
witnessed what you did on board the Turkish vessel without being hindered
by my presence; had you loved me, I thought my being present would have
made you uncomfortable. I feared to be soon despised, and God knows how
much I suffered! You have insulted me, darling, in many different ways,
but my heart pleaded in your favour, because I knew you were excited,
angry, and thirsting for revenge. Did you not threaten me this very day
in your carriage? I confess you greatly frightened me, but do not fancy
that I gave myself to you out of fear. No, I had made up my mind to be
yours from the moment you sent me word by Cecilia that you would take me
to Rimini, and your control over your own feelings during a part of our
journey confirmed me in my resolution, for I thought I could trust myself
to your honour, to your delicacy."

"Throw up," I said, "the engagement you have in Rimini; let us proceed on
our journey, and, after remaining a couple of days in Bologna, you will
go with me to Venice; dressed as a woman, and with another name, I would
challenge the manager here to find you out."

"I accept. Your will shall always be my law. I am my own mistress, and I
give myself to you without any reserve or restriction; my heart belongs
to you, and I trust to keep yours."

Man has in himself a moral force of action which always makes him
overstep the line on which he is standing. I had obtained everything, I
wanted more. "Shew me," I said, "how you were when I mistook you for a
man." She got out of bed, opened her trunk, took out the instrument and
fixed it with the gum: I was compelled to admire the ingenuity of the
contrivance. My curiosity was satisfied, and I passed a most delightful
night in her arms.

When I woke up in the morning, I admired her lovely face while she was
sleeping: all I knew of her came back to my mind; the words which had
been spoken by her bewitching mouth, her rare talent, her candour, her
feelings so full of delicacy, and her misfortunes, the heaviest of which
must have been the false character she had been compelled to assume, and
which exposed her to humiliation and shame, everything strengthened my
resolution to make her the companion of my destiny, whatever it might be,
or to follow her fate, for our positions were very nearly the same; and
wishing truly to attach myself seriously to that interesting being, I
determined to give to our union the sanction of religion and of law, and
to take her legally for my wife. Such a step, as I then thought, could
but strengthen our love, increase our mutual esteem, and insure the
approbation of society which could not accept our union unless it was
sanctioned in the usual manner.

The talents of Therese precluded the fear of our being ever in want of
the necessaries of life, and, although I did not know in what way my own
talents might be made available, I had faith in myself. Our love might
have been lessened, she would have enjoyed too great advantages over me,
and my self-dignity would have too deeply suffered if I had allowed
myself to be supported by her earnings only. It might, after a time, have
altered the nature of our feelings; my wife, no longer thinking herself
under any obligation to me, might have fancied herself the protecting,
instead of the protected party, and I felt that my love would soon have
turned into utter contempt, if it had been my misfortune to find her
harbouring such thoughts. Although I trusted it would not be so, I
wanted, before taking the important step of marriage, to probe her heart,
and I resolved to try an experiment which would at once enable me to
judge the real feelings of her inmost soul. As soon as she was awake, I
spoke to her thus:

"Dearest Therese, all you have told me leaves me no doubt of your love
for me, and the consciousness you feel of being the mistress of my heart
enhances my love for you to such a degree, that I am ready to do
everything to convince you that you were not mistaken in thinking that
you had entirely conquered me. I wish to prove to you that I am worthy of
the noble confidence you have reposed in me by trusting you with equal
sincerity.

"Our hearts must be on a footing of perfect equality. I know you, my
dearest Therese, but you do not know me yet. I can read in your eyes that
you do not mind it, and it proves our great love, but that feeling places
me too much below you, and I do not wish you to have so great an
advantage over me. I feel certain that my confidence is not necessary to
your love; that you only care to be mine, that your only wish is to
possess my heart, and I admire you, my Therese; but I should feel
humiliated if I found myself either too much above or too much below you.
You have entrusted your secrets to me, now listen to mine; but before I
begin, promise me that, when you know everything that concerns me, you
will tell me candidly if any change has taken place either in your
feelings or in your hopes."

"I promise it faithfully; I promise not to conceal anything from you; but
be upright enough not to tell me anything that is not perfectly true, for
I warn you that it would be useless. If you tried any artifice in order
to find me less worthy of you than I am in reality, you would only
succeed in lowering yourself in my estimation. I should be very sorry to
see you guilty of any cunning towards me. Have no more suspicion of me
than I have of you; tell me the whole truth."

"Here it is. You suppose me wealthy, and I am not so; as soon as what
there is now in my purse is spent I shall have nothing left. You may
fancy that I was born a patrician, but my social condition is really
inferior to your own. I have no lucrative talents, no profession, nothing
to give me the assurance that I am able to earn my living. I have neither
relatives nor friends, nor claims upon anyone, and I have no serious plan
or purpose before me. All I possess is youth, health, courage, some
intelligence, honour, honesty, and some tincture of letters. My greatest
treasure consists in being my own master, perfectly independent, and not
afraid of misfortune. With all that, I am naturally inclined to
extravagance. Lovely Therese, you have my portrait. What is your answer?"

"In the first place, dearest, let me assure you that I believe every word
you have just uttered, as I would believe in the Gospel; in the second,
allow me to tell you that several times in Ancona I have judged you such
as you have just described yourself, but far from being displeased at
such a knowledge of your nature, I was only afraid of some illusion on my
part, for I could hope to win you if you were what I thought you to be.
In one word, dear one, if it is true that you are poor and a very bad
hand at economy, allow me to tell you that I feel delighted, because, if
you love me, you will not refuse a present from me, or despise me for
offering it. The present consists of myself, such as I am, and with all
my faculties. I give myself to you without any condition, with no
restriction; I am yours, I will take care of you. For the future think
only of your love for me, but love me exclusively. From this moment I am
no longer Bellino. Let us go to Venice, where my talent will keep us both
comfortably; if you wish to go anywhere else, let us go where you
please."

"I must go to Constantinople."

"Then let us proceed to Constantinople. If you are afraid to lose me
through want of constancy, marry me, and your right over me will be
strengthened by law. I should not love you better than I do now, but I
should be happy to be your wife."

"It is my intention to marry you, and I am delighted that we agree in
that respect. The day after to-morrow, in Bologna, you shall be made my
legal-wife before the altar of God; I swear it to you here in the
presence of Love. I want you to be mine, I want to be yours, I want us to
be united by the most holy ties."

"I am the happiest of women! We have nothing to do in Rimini; suppose we
do not get up; we can have our dinner in bed, and go away to-morrow well
rested after our fatigues."

We left Rimini the next day, and stayed for breakfast at Pesaro. As we
were getting into the carriage to leave that place, an officer,
accompanied by two soldiers, presented himself, enquired for our names,
and demanded our passports. Bellino had one and gave it, but I looked in
vain for mine; I could not find it.

The officer, a corporal, orders the postillion to wait and goes to make
his report. Half an hour afterwards, he returns, gives Bellino his
passport, saying that he can continue his journey, but tells me that his
orders are to escort me to the commanding officer, and I follow him.

"What have you done with your passport?" enquires that officer.

"I have lost it."

"A passport is not so easily lost."

"Well, I have lost mine."

"You cannot proceed any further."

"I come from Rome, and I am going to Constantinople, bearing a letter
from Cardinal Acquaviva. Here is the letter stamped with his seal."

"All I can do for you is to send you to M. de Gages."

I found the famous general standing, surrounded by his staff. I told him
all I had already explained to the officer, and begged him to let me
continue my journey.

"The only favour I can grant you is to put you under arrest till you
receive another passport from Rome delivered under the same name as the
one you have given here. To lose a passport is a misfortune which befalls
only a thoughtless, giddy man, and the cardinal will for the future know
better than to put his confidence in a giddy fellow like you."

With these words, he gave orders to take me to the guard-house at St.
Mary's Gate, outside the city, as soon as I should have written to the
cardinal for a new passport. His orders were executed. I was brought back
to the inn, where I wrote my letter, and I sent it by express to his
eminence, entreating him to forward the document, without loss of time,
direct to the war office. Then I embraced Therese who was weeping, and,
telling her to go to Rimini and to wait there for my return, I made her
take one hundred sequins. She wished to remain in Pesaro, but I would not
hear of it; I had my trunk brought out, I saw Therese go away from the
inn, and was taken to the place appointed by the general.

It is undoubtedly under such circumstances that the most determined
optimist finds himself at a loss; but an easy stoicism can blunt the too
sharp edge of misfortune.

My greatest sorrow was the heart-grief of Therese who, seeing me torn
from her arms at the very moment of our union, was suffocated by the
tears which she tried to repress. She would not have left me if I had not
made her understand that she could not remain in Pesaro, and if I had not
promised to join her within ten days, never to be parted again. But fate
had decided otherwise.

When we reached the gate, the officer confined me immediately in the
guard-house, and I sat down on my trunk. The officer was a taciturn
Spaniard who did not even condescend to honour me with an answer, when I
told him that I had money and would like to have someone to wait on me. I
had to pass the night on a little straw, and without food, in the midst
of the Spanish soldiers. It was the second night of the sort that my
destiny had condemned me to, immediately after two delightful nights. My
good angel doubtless found some pleasure in bringing such conjunctions
before my mind for the benefit of my instruction. At all events,
teachings of that description have an infallible effect upon natures of a
peculiar stamp.

If you should wish to close the lips of a logician calling himself a
philosopher, who dares to argue that in this life grief overbalances
pleasure, ask him whether he would accept a life entirely without sorrow
and happiness. Be certain that he will not answer you, or he will
shuffle, because, if he says no, he proves that he likes life such as it
is, and if he likes it, he must find it agreeable, which is an utter
impossibility, if life is painful; should he, on the contrary, answer in
the affirmative, he would declare himself a fool, for it would be as much
as to say that he can conceive pleasure arising from indifference, which
is absurd nonsense.

Suffering is inherent in human nature; but we never suffer without
entertaining the hope of recovery, or, at least, very seldom without such
hope, and hope itself is a pleasure. If it happens sometimes that man
suffers without any expectation of a cure, he necessarily finds pleasure
in the complete certainty of the end of his life; for the worst, in all
cases, must be either a sleep arising from extreme dejection, during
which we have the consolation of happy dreams or the loss of all
sensitiveness. But when we are happy, our happiness is never disturbed by
the thought that it will be followed by grief. Therefore pleasure, during
its active period, is always complete, without alloy; grief is always
soothed by hope.

I suppose you, dear reader, at the age of twenty, and devoting yourself
to the task of making a man of yourself by furnishing your mind with all
the knowledge necessary to render you a useful being through the activity
of your brain. Someone comes in and tells you, "I bring you thirty years
of existence; it is the immutable decree of fate; fifteen consecutive
years must be happy, and fifteen years unhappy. You are at liberty to
choose the half by which you wish to begin."

Confess it candidly, dear reader, you will not require much more
consideration to decide, and you will certainly begin by the unhappy
series of years, because you will feel that the expectation of fifteen
delightful years cannot fail to brace you up with the courage necessary
to bear the unfortunate years you have to go through, and we can even
surmise, with every probability of being right, that the certainty of
future happiness will soothe to a considerable extent the misery of the
first period.

You have already guessed, I have no doubt, the purpose of this lengthy
argument. The sagacious man, believe me, can never be utterly miserable,
and I most willingly agree with my friend Horace, who says that, on the
contrary, such a man is always happy.

   'Nisi quum pituita molesta est.'

But, pray where is the man who is always suffering from a rheum?

The fact is that the fearful night I passed in the guardhouse of St. Mary
resulted for me in a slight loss and in a great gain. The small loss was
to be away from my dear Therese, but, being certain of seeing her within
ten days, the misfortune was not very great: as to the gain, it was in
experience the true school for a man. I gained a complete system against
thoughtlessness, a system of foresight. You may safely bet a hundred to
one that a young man who has once lost his purse or his passport, will
not lose either a second time. Each of those misfortunes has befallen me
once only, and I might have been very often the victim of them, if
experience had not taught me how much they were to be dreaded. A
thoughtless fellow is a man who has not yet found the word dread in the
dictionary of his life.

The officer who relieved my cross-grained Castilian on the following day
seemed of a different nature altogether; his prepossessing countenance
pleased me much. He was a Frenchman, and I must say that I have always
liked the French, and never the Spaniards; there is in the manners of the
first something so engaging, so obliging, that you feel attracted towards
them as towards a friend, whilst an air of unbecoming haughtiness gives
to the second a dark, forbidding countenance which certainly does not
prepossess in their favour. Yet I have often been duped by Frenchmen, and
never by Spaniards--a proof that we ought to mistrust our tastes.

The new officer, approaching me very politely, said to me,--

"To what chance, reverend sir, am I indebted for the honour of having you
in my custody?"

Ah! here was a way of speaking which restored to my lungs all their
elasticity! I gave him all the particulars of my misfortune, and he found
the mishap very amusing. But a man disposed to laugh at my disappointment
could not be disagreeable to me, for it proved that the turn of his mind
had more than one point of resemblance with mine. He gave me at once a
soldier to serve me, and I had very quickly a bed, a table, and a few
chairs. He was kind enough to have my bed placed in his own room, and I
felt very grateful to him for that delicate attention.

He gave me an invitation to share his dinner, and proposed a game of
piquet afterwards, but from the very beginning he saw that I was no match
for him; he told me so, and he warned me that the officer who would
relieve him the next day was a better player even than he was himself; I
lost three or four ducats. He advised me to abstain from playing on the
following day, and I followed his advice. He told me also that he would
have company to supper, that there would be a game of faro, but that the
banker being a Greek and a crafty player, I ought not to play. I thought
his advice very considerate, particularly when I saw that all the punters
lost, and that the Greek, very calm in the midst of the insulting
treatment of those he had duped, was pocketing his money, after handing a
share to the officer who had taken an interest in the bank. The name of
the banker was Don Pepe il Cadetto, and by his accent I knew he was a
Neapolitan. I communicated my discovery to the officer, asking him why he
had told me that the man was a Greek. He explained to me the meaning of
the word greek applied to a gambler, and the lesson which followed his
explanation proved very useful to me in after years.

During the five following days, my life was uniform and rather dull, but
on the sixth day the same French officer was on guard, and I was very
glad to see him. He told me, with a hearty laugh, that he was delighted
to find me still in the guard-house, and I accepted the compliment for
what it was worth. In the evening, we had the same bank at faro, with the
same result as the first time, except a violent blow from the stick of
one of the punters upon the back of the banker, of which the Greek
stoically feigned to take no notice. I saw the same man again nine years
afterwards in Vienna, captain in the service of Maria Theresa; he then
called himself d'Afflisso. Ten years later, I found him a colonel, and
some time after worth a million; but the last time I saw him, some
thirteen or fourteen years ago, he was a galley slave. He was handsome,
but (rather a singular thing) in spite of his beauty, he had a gallows
look. I have seen others with the same stamp--Cagliostro, for instance,
and another who has not yet been sent to the galleys, but who cannot fail
to pay them a visit. Should the reader feel any curiosity about it, I can
whisper the name in his ear.

Towards the ninth or tenth day everyone in the army knew and liked me,
and I was expecting the passport, which could not be delayed much longer.
I was almost free, and I would often walk about even out of sight of the
sentinel. They were quite right not to fear my running away, and I should
have been wrong if I had thought of escaping, but the most singular
adventure of my life happened to me then, and most unexpectedly.

It was about six in the morning. I was taking a walk within one hundred
yards of the sentinel, when an officer arrived and alighted from his
horse, threw the bridle on the neck of his steed, and walked off.
Admiring the docility of the horse, standing there like a faithful
servant to whom his master has given orders to wait for him I got up to
him, and without any purpose I get hold of the bridle, put my foot in the
stirrup, and find myself in the saddle. I was on horseback for the first
time in my life. I do not know whether I touched the horse with my cane
or with my heels, but suddenly the animal starts at full speed. My right
foot having slipped out of the stirrup, I press against the horse with my
heels, and, feeling the pressure, it gallops faster and faster, for I did
not know how to check it. At the last advanced post the sentinels call
out to me to stop; but I cannot obey the order, and the horse carrying me
away faster than ever, I hear the whizzing of a few musket balls, the
natural consequence of my involuntary disobedience. At last, when I
reach the first advanced picket of the Austrians, the horse is stopped,
and I get off his back thanking God.

An officer of Hussars asks where I am running so fast, and my tongue,
quicker than my thought, answers without any privity on my part, that I
can render no account but to Prince Lobkowitz, commander-in-chief of the
army, whose headquarters were at Rimini. Hearing my answer, the officer
gave orders for two Hussars to get on horseback, a fresh one is given me,
and I am taken at full gallop to Rimini, where the officer on guard has
me escorted at once to the prince.

I find his highness alone, and I tell him candidly what has just happened
to me. My story makes him laugh, although he observes that it is hardly
credible.

"I ought," he says, "to put you under arrest, but I am willing to save
you that unpleasantness." With that he called one of his officers and
ordered him to escort me through the Cesena Gate. "Then you can go
wherever you please," he added, turning round to me; "but take care not
to again enter the lines of my army without a passport, or you might fare
badly."

I asked him to let me have the horse again, but he answered that the
animal did not belong to me. I forgot to ask him to send me back to the
place I had come from, and I regretted it; but after all perhaps I did
for the best.

The officer who accompanied me asked me, as we were passing a
coffee-house, whether I would like to take some chocolate, and we went
in. At that moment I saw Petronio going by, and availing myself of a
moment when the officer was talking to someone, I told him not to appear
to be acquainted with me, but to tell me where he lived. When we had
taken our chocolate the officer paid and we went out. Along the road we
kept up the conversation; he told me his name, I gave him mine, and I
explained how I found myself in Rimini. He asked me whether I had not
remained some time in Ancona; I answered in the affirmative, and he
smiled and said I could get a passport in Bologna, return to Rimini and
to Pesaro without any fear, and recover my trunk by paying the officer
for the horse he had lost. We reached the gate, he wished me a pleasant
journey, and we parted company.

I found myself free, with gold and jewels, but without my trunk. Therese
was in Rimini, and I could not enter that city. I made up my mind to go
to Bologna as quickly as possible in order to get a passport, and to
return to Pesaro, where I should find my passport from Rome, for I could
not make up my mind to lose my trunk, and I did not want to be separated
from Therese until the end of her engagement with the manager of the
Rimini Theatre.

It was raining; I had silk stockings on, and I longed for a carriage. I
took shelter under the portal of a church, and turned my fine overcoat
inside out, so as not to look like an abbe. At that moment a peasant
happened to come along, and I asked him if a carriage could be had to
drive me to Cesena. "I have one, sir," he said, "but I live half a league
from here."

"Go and get it, I will wait for you here."

While I was waiting for the return of the peasant with his vehicle, some
forty mules laden with provisions came along the road towards Rimini. It
was still raining fast, and the mules passing close by me, I placed my
hand mechanically upon the neck of one of them, and following the slow
pace of the animals I re-entered Rimini without the slightest notice
being taken of me, even by the drivers of the mules. I gave some money to
the first street urchin I met, and he took me to Therese's house.

With my hair fastened under a night-cap, my hat pulled down over my face,
and my fine cane concealed under my coat, I did not look a very elegant
figure. I enquired for Bellino's mother, and the mistress of the house
took me to a room where I found all the family, and Therese in a woman's
dress. I had reckoned upon surmising them, but Petronio had told them of
our meeting, and they were expecting me. I gave a full account of my
adventures, but Therese, frightened at the danger that threatened me, and
in spite of her love, told me that it was absolutely necessary for me to
go to Bologna, as I had been advised by M. Vais, the officer.

"I know him," she said, "and he is a worthy man, but he comes here every
evening, and you must conceal yourself."

It was only eight o'clock in the morning; we had the whole day before us,
and everyone promised to be discreet. I allayed Therese's anxiety by
telling her that I could easily contrive to leave the city without being
observed.

Therese took me to her own room, where she told me that she had met the
manager of the theatre on her arrival in Rimini, and that he had taken
her at once to the apartments engaged for the family. She had informed
him that she was a woman, and that she had made up her mind not to appear
as a castrato any more; he had expressed himself delighted at such news,
because women could appear on the stage at Rimini, which was not under
the same legate as Ancona. She added that her engagement would be at an
end by the 1st of May, and that she would meet me wherever it would be
agreeable to me to wait for her.

"As soon as I can get a passport," I said, "there is nothing to hinder me
from remaining near you until the end of your engagement. But as M. Vais
calls upon you, tell me whether you have informed him of my having spent
a few days in Ancona?"

"I did, and I even told him that you had been arrested because you had
lost your passport."

I understood why the officer had smiled as he was talking with me. After
my conversation with Therese, I received the compliments of the mother
and of the young sisters who appeared to me less cheerful and less free
than they had been in Ancona. They felt that Bellino, transformed into
Therese, was too formidable a rival. I listened patiently to all the
complaints of the mother who maintained that, in giving up the character
of castrato, Therese had bidden adieu to fortune, because she might have
earned a thousand sequins a year in Rome.

"In Rome, my good woman," I said, "the false Bellino would have been
found out, and Therese would have been consigned to a miserable convent
for which she was never made."

Notwithstanding the danger of my position, I spent the whole of the day
alone with my beloved mistress, and it seemed that every moment gave her
fresh beauties and increased my love. At eight o'clock in the evening,
hearing someone coming in, she left me, and I remained in the dark, but
in such a position that I could see everything and hear every word. The
Baron Vais came in, and Therese gave him her hand with the grace of a
pretty woman and the dignity of a princess. The first thing he told her
was the news about me; she appeared to be pleased, and listened with
well-feigned indifference, when he said that he had advised me to return
with a passport. He spent an hour with her, and I was thoroughly well
pleased with her manners and behaviour, which had been such as to leave
me no room for the slightest feeling of jealousy. Marina lighted him out
and Therese returned to me. We had a joyous supper together, and, as we
were getting ready to go to bed, Petronio came to inform me that ten
muleteers would start for Cesena two hours before day-break, and that he
was sure I could leave the city with them if I would go and meet them a
quarter of an hour before their departure, and treat them to something to
drink. I was of the same opinion, and made up my mind to make the
attempt. I asked Petronio to sit up and to wake me in good time. It
proved an unnecessary precaution, for I was ready before the time, and
left Therese satisfied with my love, without any doubt of my constancy,
but rather anxious as to my success in attempting to leave Rimini. She
had sixty sequins which she wanted to force back upon me, but I asked her
what opinion she would have of me if I accepted them, and we said no more
about it.

I went to the stable, and having treated one of the muleteers to some
drink I told him that I would willingly ride one of his mules as far as
Sarignan.

"You are welcome to the ride," said the good fellow, "but I would advise
you not to get on the mule till we are outside the city, and to pass
through the gate on foot as if you were one of the drivers."

It was exactly what I wanted. Petronio accompanied me as far as the gate,
where I gave him a substantial proof of my gratitude. I got out of the
city without the slightest difficulty, and left the muleteers at
Sarignan, whence I posted to Bologna.

I found out that I could not obtain a passport, for the simple reason
that the authorities of the city persisted that it was not necessary; but
I knew better, and it was not for me to tell them why. I resolved to
write to the French officer who had treated me so well at the guardhouse.
I begged him to enquire at the war office whether my passport had arrived
from Rome, and, if so, to forward it to me. I also asked him to find out
the owner of the horse who had run away with me, offering to pay for it.
I made up my mind to wait for Therese in Bologna, and I informed her of
my decision, entreating her to write very often. The reader will soon
know the new resolution I took on the very same day.





EPISODE 3 -- MILITARY CAREER




CHAPTER XIII

     I Renounce the Clerical Profession, and Enter the Military
     Service--Therese Leaves for Naples, and I Go to Venice--I Am
     Appointed Ensign in the Army of My Native Country--I Embark
     for Corfu, and Land at Orsera to Take a Walk

I had been careful, on my arrival in Bologna, to take up my quarters at a
small inn, so as not to attract any notice, and as soon as I had
dispatched my letters to Therese and the French officer, I thought of
purchasing some linen, as it was at least doubtful whether I should ever
get my trunk. I deemed it expedient to order some clothes likewise. I was
thus ruminating, when it suddenly struck me that I was not likely now to
succeed in the Church, but feeling great uncertainty as to the profession
I ought to adopt, I took a fancy to transform myself into an officer, as
it was evident that I had not to account to anyone for my actions. It was
a very natural fancy at my age, for I had just passed through two armies
in which I had seen no respect paid to any garb but to the military
uniform, and I did not see why I should not cause myself to be respected
likewise. Besides, I was thinking of returning to Venice, and felt great
delight at the idea of shewing myself there in the garb of honour, for I
had been rather ill-treated in that of religion.

I enquired for a good tailor: death was brought to me, for the tailor
sent to me was named Morte. I explained to him how I wanted my uniform
made, I chose the cloth, he took my measure, and the next day I was
transformed into a follower of Mars. I procured a long sword, and with my
fine cane in hand, with a well-brushed hat ornamented with a black
cockade, and wearing a long false pigtail, I sallied forth and walked all
over the city.

I bethought myself that the importance of my new calling required a
better and more showy lodging than the one I had secured on my arrival,
and I moved to the best inn. I like even now to recollect the pleasing
impression I felt when I was able to admire myself full length in a large
mirror. I was highly pleased with my own person! I thought myself made by
nature to wear and to honour the military costume, which I had adopted
through the most fortunate impulse. Certain that nobody knew me, I
enjoyed by anticipation all the conjectures which people would indulge in
respecting me, when I made my first appearance in the most fashionable
cafe of the town.

My uniform was white, the vest blue, a gold and silver shoulder-knot, and
a sword-knot of the same material. Very well pleased with my grand
appearance, I went to the coffee-room, and, taking some chocolate, began
to read the newspapers, quite at my ease, and delighted to see that
everybody was puzzled. A bold individual, in the hope of getting me into
conversation, came to me and addressed me; I answered him with a
monosyllable, and I observed that everyone was at a loss what to make of
me. When I had sufficiently enjoyed public admiration in the coffee-room,
I promenaded in the busiest thoroughfares of the city, and returned to
the inn, where I had dinner by myself.

I had just concluded my repast when my landlord presented himself with
the travellers' book, in which he wanted to register my name.

"Casanova."

"Your profession, if you please, sir?"

"Officer."

"In which service?"

"None."

"Your native place?"

"Venice."

"Where do you come from?"

"That is no business of yours."

This answer, which I thought was in keeping with my external appearance,
had the desired effect: the landlord bowed himself out, and I felt highly
pleased with myself, for I knew that I should enjoy perfect freedom in
Bologna, and I was certain that mine host had visited me at the instance
of some curious person eager to know who I was.

The next day I called on M. Orsi, the banker, to cash my bill of
exchange, and took another for six hundred sequins on Venice, and one
hundred sequins in gold after which I again exhibited myself in the
public places. Two days afterwards, whilst I was taking my coffee after
dinner, the banker Orsi was announced. I desired him to be shewn in, and
he made his appearance accompanied my Monsignor Cornaro, whom I feigned
not to know. M. Orsi remarked that he had called to offer me his services
for my letters of exchange, and introduced the prelate. I rose and
expressed my gratification at making his acquaintance. "But we have met
before," he replied, "at Venice and Rome." Assuming an air of blank
surprise, I told him he must certainly be mistaken. The prelate, thinking
he could guess the reason of my reserve, did not insist, and apologized.
I offered him a cup of coffee, which he accepted, and, on leaving me, he
begged the honour of my company to breakfast the next day.

I made up my mind to persist in my denials, and called upon the prelate,
who gave me a polite welcome. He was then apostolic prothonotary in
Bologna. Breakfast was served, and as we were sipping our chocolate, he
told me that I had most likely some good reasons to warrant my reserve,
but that I was wrong not to trust him, the more so that the affair in
question did me great honour. "I do not know," said I, "what affair you
are alluding to." He then handed me a newspaper, telling me to read a
paragraph which he pointed out. My astonishment may be imagined when I
read the following correspondence from Pesaro: "M. de Casanova, an
officer in the service of the queen, has deserted after having killed his
captain in a duel; the circumstances of the duel are not known; all that
has been ascertained is that M. de Casanova has taken the road to Rimini,
riding the horse belonging to the captain, who was killed on the spot."

In spite of my surprise, and of the difficulty I had in keeping my
gravity at the reading of the paragraph, in which so much untruth was
blended with so little that was real, I managed to keep a serious
countenance, and I told the prelate that the Casanova spoken of in the
newspaper must be another man.

"That may be, but you are certainly the Casanova I knew a month ago at
Cardinal Acquaviva's, and two years ago at the house of my sister, Madame
Lovedan, in Venice. Besides the Ancona banker speaks of you as an
ecclesiastic in his letter of advice to M. Orsi:"

"Very well, monsignor; your excellency compels me to agree to my being
the same Casanova, but I entreat you not to ask me any more questions as
I am bound in honour to observe the strictest reserve."

"That is enough for me, and I am satisfied. Let us talk of something
else."

I was amused at the false reports which were being circulated about me,
and, I became from that moment a thorough sceptic on the subject of
historical truth. I enjoyed, however, very great pleasure in thinking
that my reserve had fed the belief of my being the Casanova mentioned in
the newspaper. I felt certain that the prelate would write the whole
affair to Venice, where it would do me great honour, at least until the
truth should be known, and in that case my reserve would be justified,
besides, I should then most likely be far away. I made up my mind to go
to Venice as soon as I heard from Therese, as I thought that I could wait
for her there more comfortably than in Bologna, and in my native place
there was nothing to hinder me from marrying her openly. In the mean time
the fable from Pesaro amused me a good deal, and I expected every day to
see it denied in some newspaper. The real officer Casanova must have
laughed at the accusation brought against him of having run away with the
horse, as much as I laughed at the caprice which had metamorphosed me
into an officer in Bologna, just as if I had done it for the very purpose
of giving to the affair every appearance of truth.

On the fourth day of my stay in Bologna, I received by express a long
letter from Therese. She informed me that, on the day after my escape
from Rimini, Baron Vais had presented to her the Duke de Castropignano,
who, having heard her sing, had offered her one thousand ounces a year,
and all travelling expenses paid, if she would accept an engagement as
prima-donna at the San Carlo Theatre, at Naples, where she would have to
go immediately after her Rimini engagement. She had requested and
obtained a week to come to a decision. She enclosed two documents, the
first was the written memorandum of the duke's proposals, which she sent
in order that I should peruse it, as she did not wish to sign it without
my consent; the second was a formal engagement, written by herself, to
remain all her life devoted to me and at my service. She added in her
letter that, if I wished to accompany her to Naples, she would meet me
anywhere I might appoint, but that, if I had any objection to return to
that city, she would immediately refuse the brilliant offer, for her only
happiness was to please me in all things.

For the first time in my life I found myself in need of thoughtful
consideration before I could make up my mind. Therese's letter had
entirely upset all my ideas, and, feeling that I could not answer it a
once, I told the messenger to call the next day.

Two motives of equal weight kept the balance wavering; self-love and love
for Therese. I felt that I ought not to require Therese to give up such
prospects of fortune; but I could not take upon myself either to let her
go to Naples without me, or to accompany her there. On one side, I
shuddered at the idea that my love might ruin Therese's prospects; on the
other side, the idea of the blow inflicted on my self-love, on my pride,
if I went to Naples with her, sickened me.

How could I make up my mind to reappear in that city, in the guise of a
cowardly fellow living at the expense of his mistress or his wife? What
would my cousin Antonio, Don Polo and his dear son, Don Lelio Caraffa,
and all the patricians who knew me, have said? The thought of Lucrezia
and of her husband sent a cold shiver through me. I considered that, in
spite of my love for Therese, I should become very miserable if everyone
despised me. Linked to her destiny as a lover or as a husband, I would be
a degraded, humbled, and mean sycophant. Then came the thought, Is this
to be the end of all my hopes? The die was cast, my head had conquered my
heart. I fancied that I had hit upon an excellent expedient, which at all
events made me gain time, and I resolved to act upon it. I wrote to
Therese, advising her to accept the engagement for Naples, where she
might expect me to join her in the month of July, or after my return from
Constantinople. I cautioned her to engage an honest-looking
waiting-woman, so as to appear respectably in the world, and, to lead
such a life as would permit me to make her my wife, on my return, without
being ashamed of myself. I foresaw that her success would be insured by
her beauty even more than by her talent, and, with my nature, I knew that
I could never assume the character of an easy-going lover or of a
compliant husband.

Had I received Therese's letter one week sooner, it is certain that she
would not have gone to Naples, for my love would then have proved
stronger than my reason; but in matters of love, as well as in all
others, Time is a great teacher.

I told Therese to direct her answer to Bologna, and, three days after, I
received from her a letter loving, and at the same time sad, in which she
informed me that she had signed the engagement. She had secured the
services of a woman whom she could present as her mother; she would reach
Naples towards the middle of May, and she would wait for me there till
she heard from me that I no longer wanted her.

Four days after the receipt of that letter, the last but one that Therese
wrote me, I left Bologna for Venice. Before my departure I had received
an answer form the French officer, advising me that my passport had
reached Pesaro, and that he was ready to forward it to me with my trunk,
if I would pay M. Marcello Birna, the proveditore of the Spanish army,
whose address he enclosed, the sum of fifty doubloons for the horse which
I had run away with, or which had run away with me. I repaired at once to
the house of the proveditore, well pleased to settle that affair, and I
received my trunk and my passport a few hours before leaving Bologna. But
as my paying for the horse was known all over the town, Monsignor Cornaro
was confirmed in his belief that I had killed my captain in a duel.

To go to Venice, it was necessary to submit to a quarantine, which had
been adhered to only because the two governments had fallen out. The
Venetians wanted the Pope to be the first in giving free passage through
his frontiers, and the Pope insisted that the Venetians should take the
initiative. The result of this trifling pique between the two governments
was great hindrance to commerce, but very often that which bears only
upon the private interest of the people is lightly treated by the rulers.
I did not wish to be quarantined, and determined on evading it. It was
rather a delicate undertaking, for in Venice the sanitary laws are very
strict, but in those days I delighted in doing, if not everything that
was forbidden, at least everything which offered real difficulties.

I knew that between the state of Mantua and that of Venice the passage
was free, and I knew likewise that there was no restriction in the
communication between Mantua and Modena; if I could therefore penetrate
into the state of Mantua by stating that I was coming from Modena, my
success would be certain, because I could then cross the Po and go
straight to Venice. I got a carrier to drive me to Revero, a city
situated on the river Po, and belonging to the state of Mantua.

The driver told me that, if he took the crossroads, he could go to
Revero, and say that we came from Mantua, and that the only difficulty
would be in the absence of the sanitary certificate which is delivered in
Mantua, and which was certain to be asked for in Revero. I suggested that
the best way to manage would be for him to say that he had lost it, and a
little money removed every objection on his part.

When we reached the gates of Revero, I represented myself as a Spanish
officer going to Venice to meet the Duke of Modena (whom I knew to be
there) on business of the greatest importance. The sanitary certificate
was not even demanded, military honours were duly paid to me, and I was
most civilly treated. A certificate was immediately delivered to me,
setting forth that I was travelling from Revero, and with it I crossed
the Po, without any difficulty, at Ostiglia, from which place I proceeded
to Legnago. There I left my carrier as much pleased with my generosity as
with the good luck which had attended our journey, and, taking
post-horses, I reached Venice in the evening. I remarked that it was the
and of April, 1744, the anniversary of my birth, which, ten times during
my life, has been marked by some important event.

The very next morning I went to the exchange in order to procure a
passage to Constantinople, but I could not find any passenger ship
sailing before two or three months, and I engaged a berth in a Venetian
ship called, Our Lady of the Rosary, Commander Zane, which was to sail
for Corfu in the course of the month.

Having thus prepared myself to obey my destiny, which, according to my
superstitious feelings, called me imperiously to Constantinople, I went
to St: Mark's Square in order to see and to be seen, enjoying by
anticipation the surprise of my acquaintances at not finding me any
longer an abbe. I must not forget to state that at Revero I had decorated
my hat with a red cockade.

I thought that my first visit was, by right, due to the Abbe Grimani. The
moment he saw me he raised a perfect shriek of astonishment, for he
thought I was still with Cardinal Acquaviva, on the road to a political
career, and he saw standing before him a son of Mars. He had just left
the dinner-table as I entered, and he had company. I observed amongst the
guests an officer wearing the Spanish uniform, but I was not put out of
countenance. I told the Abbe Grimani that I was only passing through
Venice, and that I had felt it a duty and a pleasure to pay my respects
to him.

"I did not expect to see you in such a costume."

"I have resolved to throw off the garb which could not procure me a
fortune likely to satisfy my ambition."

"Where are you going?"

"To Constantinople; and I hope to find a quick passage to Corfu, as I
have dispatches from Cardinal Acquaviva."

"Where do you come from now?"

"From the Spanish army, which I left ten days ago."

These words were hardly spoken, when I heard the voice of a young
nobleman exclaiming;

"That is not true."

"The profession to which I belong," I said to him with great animation,
"does not permit me to let anyone give me the lie."

And upon that, bowing all round, I went away, without taking any notice
of those who were calling me back.

I wore an uniform; it seemed to me that I was right in showing that
sensitive and haughty pride which forms one of the characteristics of
military men. I was no longer a priest: I could not bear being given the
lie, especially when it had been given to me in so public a manner.

I called upon Madame Manzoni, whom I was longing to see. She was very
happy to see me, and did not fail to remind me of her prediction. I told
her my history, which amused her much; but she said that if I went to
Constantinople I should most likely never see her again.

After my visit to Madame Manzoni I went to the house of Madame Orio,
where I found worthy M. Rosa, Nanette, and Marton. They were all greatly
surprised, indeed petrified at seeing me. The two lovely sisters looked
more beautiful than ever, but I did not think it necessary to tell them
the history of my nine months absence, for it would not have edified the
aunt or pleased the nieces. I satisfied myself with telling them as much
as I thought fit, and amused them for three hours. Seeing that the good
old lady was carried away by her enthusiasm, I told her that I should be
very happy to pass under her roof the four or five weeks of my stay in
Venice, if she could give me a room and supper, but on condition that I
should not prove a burden to her or to her charming nieces.

"I should be only too happy," she answered, "to have you so long, but I
have no room to offer you."

"Yes, you have one, my dear," exclaimed M. Rosa, "and I undertake to put
it to rights within two hours."

It was the room adjoining the chamber of the two sisters. Nanette said
immediately that she would come downstairs with her sister, but Madame
Orio answered that it was unnecessary, as they could lock themselves in
their room.

"There would be no need for them to do that, madam," I said, with a
serious and modest air; "and if I am likely to occasion the slightest
disturbance, I can remain at the inn."

"There will be no disturbance whatever; but forgive my nieces, they are
young prudes, and have a very high opinion of themselves:"

Everything being satisfactorily arranged, I forced upon Madame Orio a
payment of fifteen sequins in advance, assuring her that I was rich, and
that I had made a very good bargain, as I should spend a great deal more
if I kept my room at the inn. I added that I would send my luggage, and
take up my quarters in her house on the following day. During the whole
of the conversation, I could see the eyes of my two dear little wives
sparkling with pleasure, and they reconquered all their influence over my
heart in spite of my love for Therese, whose image was, all the same,
brilliant in my soul: this was a passing infidelity, but not inconstancy.

On the following day I called at the war office, but, to avoid every
chance of unpleasantness, I took care to remove my cockade. I found in
the office Major Pelodoro, who could not control his joy when he saw me
in a military uniform, and hugged me with delight. As soon as I had
explained to him that I wanted to go to Constantinople, and that,
although in uniform, I was free, he advised me earnestly to seek the
favour of going to Turkey with the bailo, who intended to leave within
two months, and even to try to obtain service in the Venetian army.

His advice suited me exactly, and the secretary of war, who had known me
the year before, happening to see me, summoned me to him. He told me that
he had received letters from Bologna which had informed him of a certain
adventure entirely to my honour, adding that he knew that I would not
acknowledge it. He then asked me if I had received my discharge before
leaving the Spanish army.

"I could not receive my discharge, as I was never in the service."

"And how did you manage to come to Venice without performing quarantine?"

"Persons coming from Mantua are not subject to it."

"True; but I advise you to enter the Venetian service like Major
Pelodoro."

As I was leaving the ducal palace, I met the Abbe Grimani who told me
that the abrupt manner in which I had left his house had displeased
everybody.

"Even the Spanish officer?"

"No, for he remarked that, if you had truly been with the army, you could
not act differently, and he has himself assured me that you were there,
and to prove what he asserted he made me read an article in the
newspaper, in which it is stated that you killed your captain in a duel.
Of course it is only a fable?"

"How do you know that it is not a fact?"

"Is it true, then?"

"I do not say so, but it may be true, quite as true as my having been
with the Spanish army ten days ago."

"But that is impossible, unless you have broken through the quarantine."

"I have broken nothing. I have openly crossed the Po at Revero, and here
I am. I am sorry not to be able to present myself at your excellency's
palace, but I cannot do so until I have received the most complete
satisfaction from the person who has given me the lie. I could put up
with an insult when I wore the livery of humility, but I cannot bear one
now that I wear the garb of honour."

"You are wrong to take it in such a high tone. The person who attacked
your veracity is M. Valmarana, the proveditore of the sanitary
department, and he contends that, as nobody can pass through the cordon,
it would be impossible for you to be here. Satisfaction, indeed! Have you
forgotten who you are?"

"No, I know who I am; and I know likewise that, if I was taken for a
coward before leaving Venice, now that I have returned no one shall
insult me without repenting it."

"Come and dine with me."

"No, because the Spanish officer would know it."

"He would even see you, for he dines with me every day."

"Very well, then I will go, and I will let him be the judge of my quarrel
with M. Valmarana."

I dined that day with Major Pelodoro and several other officers, who
agreed in advising me to enter the service of the Republic, and I
resolved to do so. "I am acquainted," said the major, "with a young
lieutenant whose health is not sufficiently strong to allow him to go to
the East, and who would be glad to sell his commission, for which he
wants one hundred sequins. But it would be necessary to obtain the
consent of the secretary of war." "Mention the matter to him," I replied,
"the one hundred sequins are ready." The major undertook the commission.

In the evening I went to Madame Orio, and I found myself very comfortably
lodged. After supper, the aunt told her nieces to shew me, to my room,
and, as may well be supposed, we spent a most delightful night. After
that they took the agreeable duty by turns, and in order to avoid any
surprise in case the aunt should take it into her head to pay them a
visit, we skilfully displaced a part of the partition, which allowed them
to come in and out of my room without opening the door. But the good lady
believed us three living specimens of virtue, and never thought of
putting us to the test.

Two or three days afterwards, M. Grimani contrived an interview between
me and M. Valmarana, who told me that, if he had been aware that the
sanitary line could be eluded, he would never have impugned my veracity,
and thanked me for the information I had given him. The affair was thus
agreeably arranged, and until my departure I honoured M. Grimani's
excellent dinner with my presence every day.

Towards the end of the month I entered the service of the Republic in the
capacity of ensign in the Bala regiment, then at Corfu; the young man who
had left the regiment through the magical virtue of my one hundred
sequins was lieutenant, but the secretary of war objected to my having
that rank for reasons to which I had to submit, if I wished to enter the
army; but he promised me that, at the end of the year, I would be
promoted to the grade of lieutenant, and he granted me a furlough to go
to Constantinople. I accepted, for I was determined to serve in the army.

M. Pierre Vendramin, an illustrious senator, obtained me the favour of a
passage to Constantinople with the Chevalier Venier, who was proceeding
to that city in the quality of bailo, but as he would arrive in Corfu a
month after me, the chevalier very kindly promised to take me as he
called at Corfu.

A few days before my departure, I received a letter from Therese, who
informed me that the Duke de Castropignano escorted her everywhere. "The
duke is old," she wrote, "but even if he were young, you would have no
cause for uneasiness on my account. Should you ever want any money, draw
upon me from any place where you may happen to be, and be quite certain
that your letters of exchange will be paid, even if I had to sell
everything I possess to honour your signature."

There was to be another passenger on board the ship of the line on which
I had engaged my passage, namely, a noble Venetian, who was going to
Zante in the quality of counsellor, with a numerous and brilliant
retinue. The captain of the ship told me that, if I was obliged to take
my meals alone, I was not likely to fare very well, and he advised me to
obtain an introduction to the nobleman, who would not fail to invite me
to share his table. His name was Antonio Dolfin, and he had been
nicknamed Bucentoro, in consequence of his air of grandeur and the
elegance of his toilet. Fortunately I did not require to beg an
introduction, for M. Grimani offered, of his own accord, to present me to
the magnificent councillor, who received me in the kindest manner, and
invited me at once to take my meals at his table. He expressed a desire
that I should make the acquaintance of his wife, who was to accompany him
in the journey. I called upon her the next day, and I found a lady
perfect in manners, but already of a certain age and completely deaf. I
had therefore but little pleasure to expect from her conversation. She
had a very charming young daughter whom she left in a convent. She became
celebrated afterwards, and she is still alive, I believe, the widow of
Procurator Iron, whose family is extinct.

I have seldom seen a finer-looking man, or a man of more imposing
appearance than M. Dolfin. He was eminently distinguished for his wit and
politeness. He was eloquent, always cheerful when he lost at cards, the
favourite of ladies, whom he endeavoured to please in everything, always
courageous, and of an equal temper, whether in good or in adverse
fortune.

He had ventured on travelling without permission, and had entered a
foreign service, which had brought him into disgrace with the government,
for a noble son of Venice cannot be guilty of a greater crime. For this
offence he had been imprisoned in the Leads--a favour which destiny kept
also in reserve for me.

Highly gifted, generous, but not wealthy, M. Dolfin had been compelled to
solicit from the Grand Council a lucrative governorship, and had been
appointed to Zante; but he started with such a splendid suite that he was
not likely to save much out of his salary. Such a man as I have just
portrayed could not make a fortune in Venice, because an aristocratic
government can not obtain a state of lasting, steady peace at home unless
equality is maintained amongst the nobility, and equality, either moral
or physical, cannot be appreciated in any other way than by appearances.
The result is that the man who does not want to lay himself open to
persecution, and who happens to be superior or inferior to the others,
must endeavour to conceal it by all possible means. If he is ambitious,
he must feign great contempt for dignities; if he seeks employment, he
must not appear to want any; if his features are handsome, he must be
careless of his physical appearance; he must dress badly, wear nothing in
good taste, ridicule every foreign importation, make his bow without
grace, be careless in his manner; care nothing for the fine arts, conceal
his good breeding, have no foreign cook, wear an uncombed wig, and look
rather dirty. M. Dolfin was not endowed with any of those eminent
qualities, and therefore he had no hope of a great fortune in his native
country.

The day before my departure from Venice I did not go out; I devoted the
whole of the day to friendship. Madame Orio and her lovely nieces shed
many tears, and I joined them in that delightful employment. During the
last night that I spent with both of them, the sisters repeated over and
over, in the midst of the raptures of love, that they never would see me
again. They guessed rightly; but if they had happened to see me again
they would have guessed wrongly. Observe how wonderful prophets are!

I went on board, on the 5th of May, with a good supply of clothing,
jewels, and ready cash. Our ship carried twenty-four guns and two hundred
Sclavonian soldiers. We sailed from Malamacca to the shores of Istria
during the night, and we came to anchor in the harbour of Orsera to take
ballast. I landed with several others to take a stroll through the
wretched place where I had spent three days nine months before, a
recollection which caused me a pleasant sensation when I compared my
present position to what it was at that time. What a difference in
everything--health, social condition, and money! I felt quite certain
that in the splendid uniform I was now wearing nobody would recognize the
miserable-looking abbe who, but for Friar Stephano, would have
become--God knows what!




CHAPTER XIV

     An Amusing Meeting in Orsera--Journey to Corfu--My Stay in
     Constantinople--Bonneval--My Return to Corfu--Madame F.--The
     False Prince--I Run Away from Corfu--My Frolics at Casopo--I
     Surrender My self a Prisoner--My Speedy Release and Triumph--
     My Success with Madame F.

[Illustration: 1c14.jpg]

I affirm that a stupid servant is more dangerous than a bad one, and a
much greater plague, for one can be on one's guard against a wicked
person, but never against a fool. You can punish wickedness but not
stupidity, unless you send away the fool, male or female, who is guilty
of it, and if you do so you generally find out that the change has only
thrown you out of the frying-pan into the fire.

This chapter and the two following ones were written; they gave at full
length all the particulars which I must now abridge, for my silly servant
has taken the three chapters for her own purposes. She pleaded as an
excuse that the sheets of paper were old, written upon, covered with
scribbling and erasures, and that she had taken them in preference to
nice, clean paper, thinking that I would care much more for the last than
for the first. I flew into a violent passion, but I was wrong, for the
poor girl had acted with a good intent; her judgment alone had misled
her. It is well known that the first result of anger is to deprive the
angry man of the faculty of reason, for anger and reason do not belong to
the same family. Luckily, passion does not keep me long under its sway:
'Irasci, celerem tamen et placabilem esse'. After I had wasted my time in
hurling at her bitter reproaches, the force of which did not strike her,
and in proving to her that she was a stupid fool, she refuted all my
arguments by the most complete silence. There was nothing to do but to
resign myself, and, although not yet in the best of tempers, I went to
work. What I am going to write will probably not be so good as what I had
composed when I felt in the proper humour, but my readers must be
satisfied with it they will, like the engineer, gain in time what they
lose in strength.

I landed at Orsera while our ship was taking ballast, as a ship cannot
sail well when she is too light, and I was walking about when I remarked
a man who was looking at me very attentively. As I had no dread of any
creditor, I thought that he was interested by my fine appearance; I could
not find fault with such a feeling, and kept walking on, but as I passed
him, he addressed me:

"Might I presume to enquire whether this is your first visit to Orsera,
captain?"

"No, sir, it is my second visit to this city."

"Were you not here last year?"

"I was."

"But you were not in uniform then?"

"True again; but your questions begin to sound rather indiscreet."

"Be good enough to forgive me, sir, for my curiosity is the offspring of
gratitude. I am indebted to you for the greatest benefits, and I trust
that Providence has brought you here again only to give me the
opportunity of making greater still my debt of gratitude to you."

"What on earth have I done, and what can I do for you? I am at a loss to
guess your meaning."

"Will you be so kind as to come and breakfast with me? My house is near
at hand; my refosco is delicious, please to taste it, and I will convince
you in a few words that you are truly my benefactor, and that I have a
right to expect that you have returned Orsera to load me with fresh
benefits."

I could not suspect the man of insanity; but, as I could not make him
out, I fancied that he wanted to make me purchase some of his refosco,
and I accepted his invitation. We went up to his room, and he left me for
a few moments to order breakfast. I observed several surgical
instruments, which made me suppose that he was a surgeon, and I asked him
when he returned.

"Yes, captain; I have been practising surgery in this place for twenty
years, and in a very poor way, for I had nothing to do, except a few
cases of bleeding, of cupping, and occasionally some slight excoriation
to dress or a sprained ankle to put to rights. I did not earn even the
poorest living. But since last year a great change has taken place; I
have made a good deal of money, I have laid it out advantageously, and it
is to you, captain, to you (may God bless you!) that I am indebted for my
present comforts."

"But how so?"

"In this way, captain. You had a connection with Don Jerome's
housekeeper, and you left her, when you went away, a certain souvenir
which she communicated to a friend of hers, who, in perfect good faith,
made a present of it to his wife. This lady did not wish, I suppose, to
be selfish, and she gave the souvenir to a libertine who, in his turn,
was so generous with it that, in less than a month, I had about fifty
clients. The following months were not less fruitful, and I gave the
benefit of my attendance to everybody, of course, for a consideration.
There are a few patients still under my care, but in a short time there
will be no more, as the souvenir left by you has now lost all its virtue.
You can easily realize now the joy I felt when I saw you; you are a bird
of good omen. May I hope that your visit will last long enough to enable
you to renew the source of my fortune?"

I laughed heartily, but he was grieved to hear that I was in excellent
health. He remarked, however, that I was not likely to be so well off on
my return, because, in the country to which I was going, there was
abundance of damaged goods, but that no one knew better than he did how
to root out the venom left by the use of such bad merchandise. He begged
that I would depend upon him, and not trust myself in the hands of
quacks, who would be sure to palm their remedies upon me. I promised him
everything, and, taking leave of him with many thanks, I returned to the
ship. I related the whole affair to M. Dolfin, who was highly amused. We
sailed on the following day, but on the fourth day, on the other side of
Curzola, we were visited by a storm which very nearly cost me my life.
This is how it happened:

The chaplain of the ship was a Sclavonian priest, very ignorant, insolent
and coarse-mannered, and, as I turned him into ridicule whenever the
opportunity offered, he had naturally become my sworn enemy. 'Tant de
fiel entre-t-il dans l'ame d'un devot!' When the storm was at its height,
he posted himself on the quarter-deck, and, with book in hand, proceeded
to exorcise all the spirits of hell whom he thought he could see in the
clouds, and to whom he pointed for the benefit of the sailors who,
believing themselves lost, were crying, howling, and giving way to
despair, instead of attending to the working of the ship, then in great
danger on account of the rocks and of the breakers which surrounded us.

Seeing the peril of our position, and the evil effect of his stupid,
incantations upon the minds of the sailors whom the ignorant priest was
throwing into the apathy of despair, instead of keeping up their courage,
I thought it prudent to interfere. I went up the rigging, calling upon
the sailors to do their duty cheerfully, telling them that there were no
devils, and that the priest who pretended to see them was a fool. But it
was in vain that I spoke in the most forcible manner, in vain that I went
to work myself, and shewed that safety was only to be insured by active
means, I could not prevent the priest declaring that I was an Atheist,
and he managed to rouse against me the anger of the greatest part of the
crew. The wind continued to lash the sea into fury for the two following
days, and the knave contrived to persuade the sailors who listened to him
that the hurricane would not abate as long as I was on board. Imbued with
that conviction, one of the men, thinking he had found a good opportunity
of fulfilling the wishes of the priest, came up to me as I was standing
at the extreme end of the forecastle, and pushed me so roughly that I was
thrown over. I should have been irretrievably lost, but the sharp point
of an anchor, hanging along the side of the ship, catching in my clothes,
prevented me from falling in the sea, and proved truly my sheet-anchor.
Some men came to my assistance, and I was saved. A corporal then pointed
out to me the sailor who had tried to murder me, and taking a stout stick
I treated the scoundrel to a sound thrashing; but the sailors, headed by
the furious priest, rushed towards us when they heard his screams, and I
should have been killed if the soldiers had not taken my part. The
commander and M. Dolfin then came on deck, but they were compelled to
listen to the chaplain, and to promise, in order to pacify the vile
rabble, that they would land me at the first opportunity. But even this
was not enough; the priest demanded that I should give up to him a
certain parchment that I had purchased from a Greek at Malamocco just
before sailing. I had no recollection of it, but it was true. I laughed,
and gave it to M. Dolfin; he handed it to the fanatic chaplain, who,
exulting in his victory, called for a large pan of live coals from the
cook's galley, and made an auto-da-fe of the document. The unlucky
parchment, before it was entirely consumed, kept writhing on the fire for
half an hour, and the priest did not fail to represent those contortions
as a miracle, and all the sailors were sure that it was an infernal
manuscript given to me by the devil. The virtue claimed for that piece of
parchment by the man who had sold it to me was that it insured its lucky
possessor the love of all women, but I trust my readers will do me the
justice to believe that I had no faith whatever in amorous philtres,
talismans, or amulets of any kind: I had purchased it only for a joke.

You can find throughout Italy, in Greece, and generally in every country
the inhabitants of which are yet wrapped up in primitive ignorance, a
tribe of Greeks, of Jews, of astronomers, and of exorcists, who sell
their dupes rags and toys to which they boastingly attach wonderful
virtues and properties; amulets which render invulnerable, scraps of
cloth which defend from witchcraft, small bags filled with drugs to keep
away goblins, and a thousand gewgaws of the same description. These
wonderful goods have no marketable value whatever in France, in England,
in Germany, and throughout the north of Europe generally, but, in
revenge, the inhabitants of those countries indulge in knavish practices
of a much worse kind.

The storm abated just as the innocent parchment was writhing on the fire,
and the sailors, believing that the spirits of hell had been exorcised,
thought no more of getting rid of my person, and after a prosperous
voyage of a week we cast anchor at Corfu. As soon as I had found a
comfortable lodging I took my letters to his eminence the
proveditore-generale, and to all the naval commanders to whom I was
recommended; and after paying my respects to my colonel, and making the
acquaintance of the officers of my regiment, I prepared to enjoy myself
until the arrival of the Chevalier Venier, who had promised to take me to
Constantinople. He arrived towards the middle of June, but in the mean
time I had been playing basset, and had lost all my money, and sold or
pledged all my jewellery.

Such must be the fate awaiting every man who has a taste for gambling,
unless he should know how to fix fickle fortune by playing with a real
advantage derived from calculation or from adroitness, which defies
chance. I think that a cool and prudent player can manage both without
exposing himself to censure, or deserving to be called a cheat.

During the month that I spent in Corfu, waiting for the arrival of M.
Venier, I did not devote any time to the study, either moral or physical,
of the country, for, excepting the days on which I was on duty, I passed
my life at the coffee-house, intent upon the game, and sinking, as a
matter of course, under the adverse fortune which I braved with
obstinacy. I never won, and I had not the moral strength to stop till all
my means were gone. The only comfort I had, and a sorry one truly, was to
hear the banker himself call me--perhaps sarcastically--a fine player,
every time I lost a large stake. My misery was at its height, when new
life was infused in me by the booming of the guns fired in honour of the
arrival of the bailo. He was on board the Europa, a frigate of
seventy-two guns, and he had taken only eight days to sail from Venice to
Corfu. The moment he cast anchor, the bailo hoisted his flag of
captain-general of the Venetian navy, and the proveditore hauled down his
own colours. The Republic of Venice has not on the sea any authority
greater than that of Bailo to the Porte. The Chevalier Venier had with
him a distinguished and brilliant suite; Count Annibal Gambera, Count
Charles Zenobio, both Venetian noblemen of the first class, and the
Marquis d'Anchotti of Bressan, accompanied him to Constantinople for
their own amusement. The bailo remained a week in Corfu, and all the
naval authorities entertained him and his suite in turn, so that there
was a constant succession of balls and suppers. When I presented myself
to his excellency, he informed me that he had already spoken to the
proveditore, who had granted me a furlough of six months to enable me to
accompany him to Constantinople as his adjutant; and as soon as the
official document for my furlough had been delivered to me, I sent my
small stock of worldly goods on board the Europa, and we weighed anchor
early the next day.

We sailed with a favourable wind which remained steady and brought us in
six days to Cerigo, where we stopped to take in some water. Feeling some
curiosity to visit the ancient Cythera, I went on shore with the sailors
on duty, but it would have been better for me if I had remained on board,
for in Cerigo I made a bad acquaintance. I was accompanied by the captain
of marines.

The moment we set foot on shore, two men, very poorly dressed and of
unprepossessing appearance, came to us and begged for assistance. I asked
them who they were, and one, quicker than the other, answered;

"We are sentenced to live, and perhaps to die, in this island by the
despotism of the Council of Ten. There are forty others as unfortunate as
ourselves, and we are all born subjects of the Republic.

"The crime of which we have been accused, which is not considered a crime
anywhere, is that we were in the habit of living with our mistresses,
without being jealous of our friends, when, finding our ladies handsome,
they obtained their favours with our ready consent. As we were not rich,
we felt no remorse in availing ourselves of the generosity of our friends
in such cases, but it was said that we were carrying on an illicit trade,
and we have been sent to this place, where we receive every day ten sous
in 'moneta lunga'. We are called 'mangia-mayroni', and are worse off than
galley slaves, for we are dying of ennui, and we are often starving
without knowing how to stay our hunger. My name is Don Antonio Pocchini,
I am of a noble Paduan family, and my mother belongs to the illustrious
family of Campo San-Piero."

We gave them some money, and went about the island, returning to the ship
after we had visited the fortress. I shall have to speak of that Pocchini
in a few years.

The wind continued in our favour, and we reached the Dardanelles in eight
or ten days; the Turkish barges met us there to carry us to
Constantinople. The sight offered by that city at the distance of a
league is truly wonderful; and I believe that a more magnificent panorama
cannot be found in any part of the world. It was that splendid view which
was the cause of the fall of the Roman, and of the rise of the Greek
empire. Constantine the Great, arriving at Byzantium by sea, was so much
struck with the wonderful beauty of its position, that he exclaimed,
"Here is the proper seat of the empire of the whole world!" and in order
to secure the fulfilment of his prediction, he left Rome for Byzantium.
If he had known the prophecy of Horace, or rather if he had believed in
it, he would not have been guilty of such folly. The poet had said that
the downfall of the Roman empire would begin only when one of the
successors of Augustus bethought him removing the capital of the empire
to where it had originated. The road is not far distant from Thrace.

We arrived at the Venetian Embassy in Pera towards the middle of July,
and, for a wonder, there was no talk of the plague in Constantinople just
then. We were all provided with very comfortable lodgings, but the
intensity of the heat induced the baili to seek for a little coolness in
a country mansion which had been hired by the Bailo Dona. It was situated
at Bouyoudere. The very first order laid upon me was never to go out
unknown to the bailo, and without being escorted by a janissary, and this
order I obeyed to the letter. In those days the Russians had not tamed
the insolence of the Turkish people. I am told that foreigners can now go
about as much as they please in perfect security.

The day after our arrival, I took a janissary to accompany me to Osman
Pacha, of Caramania, the name assumed by Count de Bonneval ever since he
had adopted the turban. I sent in my letter, and was immediately shewn
into an apartment on the ground floor, furnished in the French fashion,
where I saw a stout elderly gentleman, dressed like a Frenchman, who, as
I entered the room, rose, came to meet me with a smiling countenance, and
asked me how he could serve the 'protege' of a cardinal of the Roman
Catholic Church, which he could no longer call his mother. I gave him all
the particulars of the circumstances which, in a moment of despair, had
induced me to ask the cardinal for letters of introduction for
Constantinople, and I added that, the letters once in my possession, my
superstitious feelings had made me believe that I was bound to deliver
them in person.

"Then, without this letter," he said, "you never would have come to
Constantinople, and you have no need of me?"

"True, but I consider myself fortunate in having thus made the
acquaintance of a man who has attracted the attention of the whole of
Europe, and who still commands that attention."

His excellency made some remark respecting the happiness of young men
who, like me, without care, without any fixed purpose, abandon themselves
to fortune with that confidence which knows no fear, and telling me that
the cardinal's letter made it desirable that he should do something for
me, he promised to introduce me to three or four of his Turkish friends
who deserved to be known. He invited me to dine with him every Thursday,
and undertook to send me a janissary who would protect me from the
insults of the rabble and shew me everything worth seeing.

The cardinal's letter representing me as a literary man, the pacha
observed that I ought to see his library. I followed him through the
garden, and we entered a room furnished with grated cupboards; curtains
could be seen behind the wirework; the books were most likely behind the
curtains.

Taking a key out of his pocket, he opened one of the cupboards, and,
instead of folios, I saw long rows of bottles of the finest wines. We
both laughed heartily.

"Here are," said the pacha, "my library and my harem. I am old, women
would only shorten my life but good wine will prolong it, or at least,
make it more agreeable.

"I imagine your excellency has obtained a dispensation from the mufti?"

"You are mistaken, for the Pope of the Turks is very far from enjoying as
great a power as the Christian Pope. He cannot in any case permit what is
forbidden by the Koran; but everyone is at liberty to work out his own
damnation if he likes. The Turkish devotees pity the libertines, but they
do not persecute them; there is no inquisition in Turkey. Those who do
not know the precepts of religion, say the Turks, will suffer enough in
the life to come; there is no need to make them suffer in this life. The
only dispensation I have asked and obtained, has been respecting
circumcision, although it can hardly be called so, because, at my age, it
might have proved dangerous. That ceremony is generally performed, but it
is not compulsory."

During the two hours that we spent together, the pacha enquired after
several of his friends in Venice, and particularly after Marc Antonio
Dieto. I told him that his friends were still faithful to their affection
for him, and did not find fault with his apostasy. He answered that he
was a Mahometan as he had been a Christian, and that he was not better
acquainted with the Koran than he had been with the Gospel. "I am
certain," he added, "that I shall die-calmer and much happier than Prince
Eugene. I have had to say that God is God, and that Mahomet is the
prophet. I have said it, and the Turks care very little whether I believe
it or not. I wear the turban as the soldier wears the uniform. I was
nothing but a military man; I could not have turned my hand to any other
profession, and I made up my mind to become lieutenant-general of the
Grand Turk only when I found myself entirely at a loss how to earn my
living. When I left Venice, the pitcher had gone too often to the well,
it was broken at last, and if the Jews had offered me the command of an
army of fifty thousand men, I would have gone and besieged Jerusalem."

Bonneval was handsome, but too stout. He had received a sabre-cut in the
lower part of the abdomen, which compelled him to wear constantly a
bandage supported by a silver plate. He had been exiled to Asia, but only
for a short time, for, as he told me, the cabals are not so tenacious in
Turkey as they are in Europe, and particularly at the court of Vienna. As
I was taking leave of him, he was kind enough to say that, since his
arrival in Turkey, he had never passed two hours as pleasantly as those
he had just spent with me, and that he would compliment the bailo about
me.

The Bailo Dona, who had known him intimately in Venice, desired me to be
the bearer of all his friendly compliments for him, and M. Venier
expressed his deep regret at not being able to make his acquaintance.

The second day after my first visit to him being a Thursday, the pacha
did not forget to send a janissary according to his promise. It was about
eleven in the morning when the janissary called for me, I followed him,
and this time I found Bonneval dressed in the Turkish style. His guests
soon arrived, and we sat down to dinner, eight of us, all well disposed
to be cheerful and happy. The dinner was entirely French, in cooking and
service; his steward and his cook were both worthy French renegades.

He had taken care to introduce me to all his guests and at the same time
to let me know who they were, but he did not give me an opportunity of
speaking before dinner was nearly over. The conversation was entirely
kept up in Italian, and I remarked that the Turks did not utter a single
word in their own language, even to say the most ordinary thing. Each
guest had near him a bottle which might have contained either white wine
or hydromel; all I know is that I drank, as well as M. de Bonneval, next
to whom I was seated, some excellent white Burgundy.

The guests got me on the subject of Venice, and particularly of Rome, and
the conversation very naturally fell upon religion, but not upon dogmatic
questions; the discipline of religion and liturgical questions were alone
discussed.

One of the guests, who was addressed as effendi, because he had been
secretary for foreign affairs, said that the ambassador from Venice to
Rome was a friend of his, and he spoke of him in the highest manner. I
told him that I shared his admiration for that ambassador, who had given
me a letter of introduction for a Turkish nobleman, whom he had
represented as an intimate friend. He enquired for the name of the person
to whom the letter was addressed, but I could not recollect it, and took
the letter out of my pocket-book. The effendi was delighted when he found
that the letter was for himself. He begged leave to read it at once, and
after he had perused it, he kissed the signature and came to embrace me.
This scene pleased M. de Bonneval and all his friends. The effendi, whose
name was Ismail, entreated the pacha to come to dine with him, and to
bring me; Bonneval accepted, and fixed a day.

Notwithstanding all the politeness of the effendi, I was particularly
interested during our charming dinner in a fine elderly man of about
sixty, whose countenance breathed at the same time the greatest sagacity
and the most perfect kindness. Two years afterwards I found again the
same features on the handsome face of M. de Bragadin, a Venetian senator
of whom I shall have to speak at length when we come to that period of my
life. That elderly gentleman had listened to me with the greatest
attention, but without uttering one word. In society, a man whose face
and general appearance excite your interest, stimulates strongly your
curiosity if he remains silent. When we left the dining-room I enquired
from de Bonneval who he was; he answered that he was wealthy, a
philosopher, a man of acknowledged merit, of great purity of morals, and
strongly attached to his religion. He advised me to cultivate his
acquaintance if he made any advances to me.

I was pleased with his advice, and when, after a walk under the shady
trees of the garden, we returned to a drawing-room furnished in the
Turkish fashion, I purposely took a seat near Yusuf Ali. Such was the
name of the Turk for whom I felt so much sympathy. He offered me his pipe
in a very graceful manner; I refused it politely, and took one brought to
me by one of M. de Bonneval's servants. Whenever I have been amongst
smokers I have smoked or left the room; otherwise I would have fancied
that I was swallowing the smoke of the others, and that idea which is
true and unpleasant, disgusted me. I have never been able to understand
how in Germany the ladies, otherwise so polite and delicate, could inhale
the suffocating fumes of a crowd of smokers.

Yusuf, pleased to have me near him, at once led the conversation to
subjects similar to those which had been discussed at table, and
particularly to the reasons which had induced me to give up the peaceful
profession of the Church and to choose a military life; and in order to
gratify his curiosity without losing his good opinion, I gave him, but
with proper caution, some of the particulars of my life, for I wanted him
to be satisfied that, if I had at first entered the career of the holy
priesthood, it had not been through any vocation of mine. He seemed
pleased with my recital, spoke of natural vocations as a Stoic
philosopher, and I saw that he was a fatalist; but as I was careful not
to attack his system openly, he did not dislike my objections, most
likely because he thought himself strong enough to overthrow them.

I must have inspired the honest Mussulman with very great esteem, for he
thought me worthy of becoming his disciple; it was not likely that he
could entertain the idea of becoming himself the disciple of a young man
of nineteen, lost, as he thought, in a false religion.

After spending an hour in examining me, in listening to my principles, he
said that he believed me fit to know the real truth, because he saw that
I was seeking for it, and that I was not certain of having obtained it so
far. He invited me to come and spend a whole day with him, naming the
days when I would be certain to find him at home, but he advised me to
consult the Pacha Osman before accepting his invitation. I told him that
the pacha had already mentioned him to me and had spoken very highly of
his character; he seemed much pleased. I fixed a day for my visit, and
left him.

I informed M. de Bonneval of all that had occurred; he was delighted, and
promised that his janissary would be every day at the Venetian palace,
ready to execute my orders.

I received the congratulations of the baili upon the excellent
acquaintances I had already made, and M. Venier advised me not to neglect
such friends in a country where weariness of life was more deadly to
foreigners than the plague.

On the day appointed, I went early to Yusuf's palace, but he was out. His
gardener, who had received his instructions, shewed me every attention,
and entertained me very agreeably for two hours in doing the honours of
his master's splendid garden, where I found the most beautiful flowers.
This gardener was a Neapolitan, and had belonged to Yusuf for thirty
years. His manners made me suspect that he was well born and well
educated, but he told me frankly that he had never been taught even to
read, that he was a sailor when he, was taken in slavery, and that he was
so happy in the service of Yusuf that liberty would be a punishment to
him. Of course I did not venture to address him any questions about his
master, for his reserve might have put my curiosity to the blush.

Yusuf had gone out on horseback; he returned, and, after the usual
compliments, we dined alone in a summerhouse, from which we had a fine
view of the sea, and in which the heat was cooled by a delightful breeze,
which blows regularly at the same hour every day from the north-west; and
is called the mistral. We had a good dinner; there was no prepared dish
except the cauroman, a peculiar delicacy of the Turks. I drank water and
hydromel, and I told Yusuf that I preferred the last to wine, of which I
never took much at that time. "Your hydromel," I said, "is very good, and
the Mussulmans who offend against the law by drinking wine do not deserve
any indulgence; I believe they drink wine only because it is forbidden."
"Many of the true believers," he answered, "think that they can take it
as a medicine. The Grand Turk's physician has brought it into vogue as a
medicine, and it has been the cause of his fortune, for he has captivated
the favour of his master who is in reality constantly ill, because he is
always in a state of intoxication." I told Yusuf that in my country
drunkards were scarce, and that drunkenness was a vice to be found only
among the lowest people; he was much astonished. "I cannot understand,"
he said, "why wine is allowed by all religions, when its use deprives man
of his reason."--"All religions," I answered, "forbid excess in drinking
wine, and the crime is only in the abuse." I proved him the truth of what
I had said by telling him that opium produced the same results as wine,
but more powerfully, and consequently Mahomet ought to have forbidden the
use of it. He observed that he had never taken either wine or opium in
the course of his life.

After dinner, pipes were brought in and we filled them ourselves. I was
smoking with pleasure, but, at the same time, was expectorating. Yusuf,
who smoked like a Turk, that is to say, without spitting, said,--

"The tobacco you are now smoking is of a very fine quality, and you ought
to swallow its balsam which is mixed with the saliva."

"I suppose you are right; smoking cannot be truly enjoyed without the
best tobacco."

"That is true to a certain extent, but the enjoyment found in smoking
good tobacco is not the principal pleasure, because it only pleases our
senses; true enjoyment is that which works upon the soul, and is
completely independent of the senses."

"I cannot realize pleasures enjoyed by the soul without the
instrumentality of the senses."

"Listen to me. When you fill your pipe do you feel any pleasure?"

"Yes."

"Whence does that pleasure arise, if it is not from your soul? Let us go
further. Do you not feel pleased when you give up your pipe after having
smoked all the tobacco in it--when you see that nothing is left but some
ashes?"

"It is true."

"Well, there are two pleasures in which your senses have certainly
nothing to do, but I want you to guess the third, and the most
essential."

"The most essential? It is the perfume."

"No; that is a pleasure of the organ of smelling--a sensual pleasure."

"Then I do not know."

"Listen. The principal pleasure derived from tobacco smoking is the sight
of a smoke itself. You must never see it go out of the bowl of your
pipe,--but only from the corner o your mouth, at regular intervals which
must not be too frequent. It is so truly the greatest pleasure connected
with the pipe, that you cannot find anywhere a blind man who smokes. Try
yourself the experiment of smoking a pipe in your room, at night and
without a light; you will soon lay the pipe down."

"It is all perfectly true; yet you must forgive me if I give the
preference to several pleasures, in which my senses are interested, over
those which afford enjoyment only to my soul."

"Forty years ago I was of the same opinion, and in forty years, if you
succeed in acquiring wisdom, you will think like me. Pleasures which give
activity to our senses, my dear son, disturb the repose of our soul--a
proof that they do not deserve the name of real enjoyments."

"But if I feel them to be real enjoyments, it is enough to prove that
they are truly so."

"Granted; but if you would take the trouble of analyzing them after you
have tasted them, you would not find them unalloyed."

"It may be so, but why should I take a trouble which would only lessen my
enjoyment."

"A time will come when you will feel pleasure in that very trouble."

"It strikes me, dear father, that you prefer mature age to youth."

"You may boldly say old age."

"You surprise me. Must I believe that your early life has been unhappy?"

"Far from it. It was always fortunate in good health, and the master of
my own passions; but all I saw in my equals was for me a good school in
which I have acquired the knowledge of man, and learned the real road to
happiness. The happiest of men is not the most voluptuous, but the one
who knows how to choose the highest standards of voluptuousness, which
can be found, I say again, not in the pleasures which excite our senses,
but in those which give greater repose to the soul."

"That is the voluptuousness which you consider unalloyed."

"Yes, and such is the sight of a vast prairie all covered with grass. The
green colour, so strongly recommended by our divine prophet, strikes my
eyes, and at the same moment I feel that my soul is wrapped up in a calm
so delightful that I fancy myself nearer the Creator. I enjoy the same
peace, the same repose, when I am seated on the banks of a river, when I
look upon the water so quiet, yet always moving, which flows constantly,
yet never disappears from my sight, never loses any of its clearness in
spite of its constant motion. It strikes me as the image of my own
existence, and of the calm which I require for my life in order to reach,
like the water I am gazing upon, the goal which I do not see, and which
can only be found at the other end of the journey."

Thus did the Turk reason, and we passed four hours in this sort of
conversation. He had buried two wives, and he had two sons and one
daughter. The eldest son, having received his patrimony, had established
himself in the city of Salonica, where he was a wealthy merchant; the
other was in the seraglio, in the service of the Grand Turk and his
fortune was in the hands of a trustee. His daughter, Zelmi, then fifteen
years of age, was to inherit all his remaining property. He had given her
all the accomplishments which could minister to the happiness of the man
whom heaven had destined for her husband. We shall hear more of that
daughter anon. The mother of the three children was dead, and five years
previous to the time of my visit, Yusuf had taken another wife, a native
of Scio, young and very beautiful, but he told me himself that he was now
too old, and could not hope to have any child by her. Yet he was only
sixty years of age. Before I left, he made me promise to spend at least
one day every week with him.

At supper, I told the baili how pleasantly the day had passed.

"We envy you," they said, "the prospect you have before you of spending
agreeably three or four months in this country, while, in our quality of
ministers, we must pine away with melancholy."

A few days afterwards, M. de Bonneval took me with him to dine at
Ismail's house, where I saw Asiatic luxury on a grand scale, but there
were a great many guests, and the conversation was held almost entirely
in the Turkish language--a circumstance which annoyed me and M. de
Bonneval also. Ismail saw it, and he invited me to breakfast whenever I
felt disposed, assuring me that he would have much pleasure in receiving
me. I accepted the invitation, and I went ten or twelve days afterwards.
When we reach that period my readers must kindly accompany me to the
breakfast. For the present I must return to Yusuf who, during my second
visit, displayed a character which inspired, me with the greatest esteem
and the warmest affection.

We had dined alone as before, and, conversation happening to turn upon
the fine arts, I gave my opinion upon one of the precepts in the Koran,
by which the Mahometans are deprived of the innocent enjoyment of
paintings and statues. He told me that Mahomet, a very sagacious
legislator, had been right in removing all images from the sight of the
followers of Islam.

"Recollect, my son, that the nations to which the prophet brought the
knowledge of the true God were all idolators. Men are weak; if the
disciples of the prophet had continued to see the same objects, they
might have fallen back into their former errors."

"No one ever worshipped an image as an image; the deity of which the
image is a representation is what is worshipped."

"I may grant that, but God cannot be matter, and it is right to remove
from the thoughts of the vulgar the idea of a material divinity. You are
the only men, you Christians, who believe that you see God."

"It is true, we are sure of it, but observe that faith alone gives us
that certainty."

"I know it; but you are idolators, for you see nothing but a material
representation, and yet you have a complete certainty that you see God,
unless you should tell me that faith disaffirms it."

"God forbid I should tell you such a thing! Faith, on the contrary,
affirms our certainty."

"We thank God that we have no need of such self-delusion, and there is
not one philosopher in the world who could prove to me that you require
it."

"That would not be the province of philosophy, dear father, but of
theology--a very superior science."

"You are now speaking the language of our theologians, who differ from
yours only in this; they use their science to make clearer the truths we
ought to know, whilst your theologians try to render those truths more
obscure."

"Recollect, dear father, that they are mysteries."

"The existence of God is a sufficiently important mystery to prevent men
from daring to add anything to it. God can only be simple; any kind of
combination would destroy His essence; such is the God announced by our
prophet, who must be the same for all men and in all times. Agree with me
that we can add nothing to the simplicity of God. We say that God is one;
that is the image of simplicity. You say that He is one and three at the
same time, and such a definition strikes us as contradictory, absurd, and
impious."

"It is a mystery."

"Do you mean God or the definition? I am speaking only of the definition,
which ought not to be a mystery or absurd. Common sense, my son, must
consider as absurd an assertion which substantiallv nonsensical. Prove to
me that three is not a compound, that it cannot be a compound and I will
become a Christian at once."

"My religion tells me to believe without arguing, and I shudder, my dear
Yusuf, when I think that, through some specious reasoning, I might be led
to renounce the creed of my fathers. I first must be convinced that they
lived in error. Tell me whether, respecting my father's memory, I ought
to have such a good opinion of myself as to sit in judgement over him,
with the intention of giving my sentence against him?"

My lively remonstrance moved Yusuf deeply, but after a few instants of
silence he said to me,--

"With such feelings, my son, you are sure to find grace in the eyes of
God, and you are, therefore, one of the elect. If you are in error, God
alone can convince you of it, for no just man on earth can refute the
sentiment you have just given expression to."

We spoke of many other things in a friendly manner, and in the evening we
parted with the often repeated assurance of the warmest affection and of
the most perfect devotion.

But my mind was full of our conversation, and as I went on pondering over
the matter, I thought that Yusuf might be right in his opinion as to the
essence of God, for it seemed evident that the Creator of all beings
ought to be perfectly simple; but I thought at the same time how
impossible it would be for me, because the Christian religion had made a
mistake, to accept the Turkish creed, which might perhaps have just a
conception of God, but which caused me to smile when I recollected that
the man who had given birth to it had been an arrant imposter. I had not
the slightest idea, however, that Yusuf wished to make a convert of me.

The third time I dined with him religion was again the subject of
conversation.

"Do you believe, dear father, that the religion of Mahomet is the only
one in which salvation can be secured?"

"No, my dear son, I am not certain of it, and no man can have such a
certainty; but I am sure that the Christian religion is not the true one,
because it cannot be universal."

"Why not?"

"Because there is neither bread nor wine to be found in three-fourths of
the world. Observe that the precepts of the Koran can be followed
everywhere."

I did not know how to answer, and I would not equivocate.

"If God cannot be matter," I said, "then He must be a spirit?"

"We know what He is not but we do not know what He is: man cannot affirm
that God is a spirit, because he can only realize the idea in an abstract
manner. God immaterial; that is the extent of our knowledge and it can
never be greater."

I was reminded of Plato, who had said exactly the same an most certainly
Yusuf never read Plato.

He added that the existence of God could be useful only to those who did
not entertain a doubt of that existence, and that, as a natural
consequence, Atheists must be the most miserable of men. God has made in
man His own image in order that, amongst all the animals created by Him,
there should be one that can understand and confess the existence of the
Creator. Without man, God would have no witness of His own glory, and man
must therefore understand that his first and highest duty is to glorify
God by practising justice and trusting to His providence.

"Observe, my son, that God never abandons the man who, in the midst of
misfortunes, falls down in prayer before Him, and that He often allows
the wretch who has no faith in prayer to die miserably."

"Yet we meet with Atheists who are fortunate and happy."

"True; but, in spite of their tranquillity, I pity them because they have
no hope beyond this life, and are on a level with animals. Besides, if
they are philosophers, they must linger in dark ignorance, and, if they
never think, they have no consolation, no resource, when adversity
reaches them. God has made man in such a manner that he cannot be happy
unless he entertains no doubt of the existence of his Divine Creator; in
all stations of life man is naturally prone to believe in that existence,
otherwise man would never have admitted one God, Creator of all beings
and of all things."

"I should like to know why Atheism has only existed in the systems of the
learned, and never as a national creed."

"Because the poor feel their wants much more than the rich, There are
amongst us a great many impious men who deride the true believers because
they have faith in the pilgrimage to Mecca. Wretches that they are, they
ought to respect the ancient customs which, exciting the devotion of
fervent souls, feed religious principles, and impart courage under all
misfortunes. Without such consolation, people would give way to all the
excess of despair."

Much pleased with the attention I gave to all he said, Yusuf would thus
yield to the inclination he felt to instruct me, and, on my side, feeling
myself drawn towards him by the charm which amiable goodness exerts upon
all hearts, I would often go and spend the day with him, even without any
previous invitation, and Yusuf's friendship soon became one of my most
precious treasures.

One morning, I told my janissary to take me to the palace of Ismail
Effendi, in order to fulfil my promise to breakfast with him. He gave me
the most friendly welcome, and after an excellent breakfast he invited me
to take a walk in his garden. We found there a pretty summer-house which
we entered, and Ismail attempted some liberties which were not at all to
my taste, and which I resented by rising in a very abrupt manner. Seeing
that I was angry, the Turk affected to approve my reserve, and said that
he had only been joking. I left him after a few minutes, with the
intention of not visiting him again, but I was compelled to do so, as I
will explain by-and-by.

When I saw M. de Bonneval I told him what had happened and he said that,
according to Turkish manners, Ismail had intended to give me a great
proof of his friendship, but that I need not be afraid of the offence
being repeated. He added that politeness required that I should visit him
again, and that Ismail was, in spite of his failing, a perfect gentleman,
who had at his disposal the most beautiful female slaves in Turkey.

Five or six weeks after the commencement of our intimacy, Yusuf asked me
one day whether I was married. I answered that I was not; the
conversation turned upon several moral questions, and at last fell upon
chastity, which, in his opinion, could be accounted a virtue only if
considered from one point of view, namely, that of total abstinence, but
he added that it could not be acceptable to God; because it transgressed
against the very first precept He had given to man.

"I would like to know, for instance," he said, "what name can be given to
the chastity of your knights of Malta. They take a vow of chastity, but
it does not mean that they will renounce women altogether, they renounce
marriage only. Their chastity, and therefore chastity in general, is
violated only by marriage; yet I observe that marriage is one of your
sacraments. Therefore, those knights of Malta promise not to give way to
lustful incontinence in the only case in which God might forgive it, but
they reserve the license of being lustful unlawfully as often as they
please, and whenever an opportunity may offer itself; and that immoral,
illicit license is granted to them to such an extent, that they are
allowed to acknowledge legally a child which can be born to them only
through a double crime! The most revolting part of it all is that these
children of crime, who are of course perfectly innocent themselves, are
called natural children, as if children born in wedlock came into the
world in an unnatural manner! In one word, my dear son, the vow of
chastity is so much opposed to Divine precepts and to human nature that
it can be agreeable neither to God nor to society, nor to those who
pledge themselves to keep it, and being in such opposition to every
divine and human law, it must be a crime."

He enquired for the second time whether I was married; I replied in the
negative, and added that I had no idea of ever getting married.

"What!" he exclaimed; "I must then believe that you are not a perfect
man, or that you intend to work out your own damnation; unless you should
tell me that you are a Christian only outwardly."

"I am a man in the very strongest sense of the word, and I am a true
Christian. I must even confess that I adore women, and that I have not
the slightest idea of depriving myself of the most delightful of all
pleasures."

"According to your religion, damnation awaits you."

"I feel certain of the contrary, because, when we confess our sins, our
priests are compelled to give us absolution."

"I know it, but you must agree with me that it is absurd to suppose that
God will forgive a crime which you would, perhaps, not commit, if you did
not think that, after confession, a priest, a man like you, will give you
absolution. God forgives only the repenting sinner."

"No doubt of it, and confession supposes repentance; without it,
absolution has no effect."

"Is onanism a crime amongst you?"

"Yes, even greater than lustful and illegitimate copulation."

"I was aware of it, and it has always caused me great surprise, for the
legislator who enacts a law, the execution of which is impossible, is a
fool. A man in good health, if he cannot have a woman, must necessarily
have recourse to onanism, whenever imperious nature demands it, and the
man who, from fear of polluting his soul, would abstain from it, would
only draw upon himself a mortal disease."

"We believe exactly the reverse; we think that young people destroy their
constitutions, and shorten their lives through self-abuse. In several
communities they are closely watched, and are as much as possible
deprived of every opportunity of indulging in that crime."

"Those who watch them are ignorant fools, and those who pay the watchers
for such a service are even more stupid, because prohibition must excite
the wish to break through such a tyrannical law, to set at nought an
interdiction so contrary to nature."

"Yet it seems to me that self-abuse in excess must be injurious to
health, for it must weaken and enervate."

"Certainly, because excess in everything is prejudicial and pernicious;
but all such excess is the result of our severe prohibition. If girls are
not interfered with in the matter of self-abuse, I do not see why boys
should be."

"Because girls are very far from running the same risk; they do not lose
a great deal in the action of self-abuse, and what they lose does not
come from the same source whence flows the germinal liquid in men."

"I do not know, but we have some physicians who say that chlorosis in
girls is the result of that pleasure indulged in to excess."

After many such conversations, in which he seemed to consider me as
endowed with reason and talent, even when I was not of his opinion, Yusuf
Ali surprised me greatly one day by the following proposition:

"I have two sons and a daughter. I no longer think of my sons, because
they have received their share of my fortune. As far as my daughter is
concerned she will, after my death, inherit all my possessions, and I am,
besides, in a position while I am alive to promote the fortune of the man
who may marry her. Five years ago I took a young wife, but she has not
given me any progeny, and I know to a certainty that no offspring will
bless our union. My daughter, whose name is Zelmi, is now fifteen; she is
handsome, her eyes are black and lovely like her mother's, her hair is of
the colour of the raven's wing, her complexion is animated alabaster; she
is tall, well made, and of a sweet disposition; I have given her an
education which would make her worthy of our master, the Sultan. She
speaks Greek and Italian fluently, she sings delightfully, and
accompanies herself on the harp; she can draw and embroider, and is
always contented and cheerful. No living man can boast of having seen her
features, and she loves me so dearly that my will is hers. My daughter is
a treasure, and I offer her to you if you will consent to go for one year
to Adrianople to reside with a relative of mine, who will teach you our
religion, our language, and our manners. You will return at the end of
one year, and as soon as you have become a Mussulman my daughter shall be
your wife. You will find a house ready furnished, slaves of your own, and
an income which will enable you to live in comfort. I have no more to say
at present. I do not wish you to answer me either to-day, or to-morrow,
or on any fixed day. You will give me your decision whenever you feel
yourself called upon by your genius to give it, and you need not give me
any answer unless you accept my offer, for, should you refuse it, it is
not necessary that the subject should be again mentioned. I do not ask
you to give full consideration to my proposal, for now that I have thrown
the seed in your soul it must fructify. Without hurry, without delay,
without anxiety, you can but obey the decrees of God and follow the
immutable decision of fate. Such as I know you, I believe that you only
require the possession of Zelmi to be completely happy, and that you will
become one of the pillars of the Ottoman Empire."

Saying those words, Yusuf pressed me affectionately in his arms, and left
me by myself to avoid any answer I might be inclined to make. I went away
in such wonder at all I had just heard, that I found myself at the
Venetian Embassy without knowing how I had reached it. The baili thought
me very pensive, and asked whether anything was the matter with me, but I
did not feel disposed to gratify their curiosity. I found that Yusuf had
indeed spoken truly: his proposal was of such importance that it was my
duty, not only not to mention it to anyone, but even to abstain from
thinking it over, until my mind had recovered its calm sufficiently to
give me the assurance that no external consideration would weigh in the
balance and influence my decision. I had to silence all my passions;
prejudices, principles already formed, love, and even self-interest were
to remain in a state of complete inaction.

When I awoke the next morning I began to think the matter over, and I
soon discovered that, if I wanted to come to a decision, I ought not to
ponder over it, as the more I considered the less likely I should be to
decide. This was truly a case for the 'sequere Deum' of the Stoics.

I did not visit Yusuf for four days, and when I called on him on the
fifth day, we talked cheerfully without once mentioning his proposal,
although it was very evident that we were both thinking of it. We
remained thus for a fortnight, without ever alluding to the matter which
engrossed all our thoughts, but our silence was not caused by
dissimulation, or by any feeling contrary to our mutual esteem and
friendship; and one day Yusuf suggested that very likely I had
communicated his proposal to some wise friend, in order to obtain good
advice. I immediately assured him it was not so, and that in a matter of
so delicate a nature I thought I ought not to ask anybody's advice.

"I have abandoned myself to God, dear Yusuf, and, full of confidence in
Him, I feel certain that I shall decide for the best, whether I make up
my mind to become your son, or believe that I ought to remain what I am
now. In the mean time, my mind ponders over it day and night, whenever I
am quiet and feel myself composed and collected. When I come to a
decision, I will impart it to you alone, and from that moment you shall
have over me the authority of a father."

At these words the worthy Yusuf, his eyes wet with tears, placed his left
hand over my head, and the first two fingers of the right hand on my
forehead, saying:

"Continue to act in that way, my dear son, and be certain that you can
never act wrongly."

"But," I said to him, "one thing might happen, Zelmi might not accept
me."

"Have no anxiety about that. My daughter loves you; she, as well as my
wife and her nurse, sees you every time that we dine together, and she
listens to you with pleasure."

"Does she know that you are thinking of giving her to me as my wife?"

"She knows that I ardently wish you to become a true believer, so as to
enable me to link her destiny to yours."

"I am glad that your habits do not permit you to let me see her, because
she might dazzle me with her beauty, and then passion would soon have too
much weight in the scale; I could no longer flatter myself that my
decision had been taken in all the unbiased, purity of my soul."

Yusuf was highly delighted at hearing me speak in that manner, and I
spoke in perfect good faith. The mere idea of seeing Zelmi caused me to
shudder. I felt that, if I had fallen in love with her, I would have
become a Mussulman in order to possess her, and that I might soon have
repented such a step, for the religion of Mahomet presented to my eyes
and to my mind nothing but a disagreeable picture, as well for this life
as for a future one. As for wealth, I did not think it deserved the
immense sacrifice demanded from me. I could find equal wealth in Europe,
without stamping my forehead with the shameful brand of apostasy. I cared
deeply for the esteem of the persons of distinction who knew me, and did
not want to render myself unworthy of it. Besides, I felt an immense
desire to obtain fame amongst civilized and polite nations, either in the
fine arts or in literature, or in any other honourable profession, and I
could not reconcile myself to the idea of abandoning to my equals the
triumph which I might win if I lived amongst them. It seemed to me, and I
am still of the same opinion, that the decision of wearing the turban
befits only a Christian despairing of himself and at the end of his wits,
and fortunately I was lost not in that predicament. My greatest objection
was to spend a year in Adrianople to learn a language for which I did not
feel any liking, and which I should therefore have learned but
imperfectly. How could I, at my age, renounce the prerogative, so
pleasant to my vanity, of being reputed a fine talker? and I had secured
that reputation wherever I was known. Then I would often think that
Zelmi, the eighth wonder of creation in the eyes of her father might not
appear such in my eyes, and it would have been enough to make me
miserable, for Yusuf was likely to live twenty years longer, and I felt
that gratitude, as well as respect, would never have permitted me to give
that excellent man any cause for unhappiness by ceasing to shew myself a
devoted and faithful husband to his daughter. Such were my thoughts, and,
as Yusuf could not guess them, it was useless to make a confidant of him.

A few days afterwards, I dined with the Pacha Osman and met my Effendi
Ismail. He was very friendly to me, and I reciprocated his attentions,
though I paid no attention to the reproaches he addressed to me for not
having come to breakfast with him for such a long time. I could not
refuse to dine at his house with Bonneval, and he treated me to a very
pleasing sight; Neapolitan slaves, men and women, performed a pantomime
and some Calabrian dances. M. de Bonneval happened to mention the dance
called forlana, and Ismail expressing a great wish to know it, I told him
that I could give him that pleasure if I had a Venetian woman to dance
with and a fiddler who knew the time. I took a violin, and played the
forlana, but, even if the partner had been found, I could not play and
dance at the same time.

Ismail whispered a few words to one of his eunuchs, who went out of the
room and returned soon with some message that he delivered to him. The
effendi told me that he had found the partner I wanted, and I answered
that the musician could be had easily, if he would send a note to the
Venetian Embassy, which was done at once. The Bailo Dona sent one of his
men who played the violin well enough for dancing purposes. As soon as
the musician was ready, a door was thrown open, and a fine looking woman
came in, her face covered with a black velvet mask, such as we call
moretta in Venice. The appearance of that beautiful masked woman
surprised and delighted every one of the guests, for it was impossible to
imagine a more interesting object, not only on account of the beauty of
that part of the face which the mask left exposed, but also for the
elegance of her shape, the perfection of her figure, and the exquisite
taste displayed in her costume. The nymph took her place, I did the same,
and we danced the forlana six times without stopping.

I was in perspiration and out of breath, for the foylana is the most
violent of our national dances; but my beautiful partner stood near me
without betraying the slightest fatigue, and seemed to challenge me to a
new performance. At the round of the dance, which is the most difficult
step, she seemed to have wings. I was astounded, for I had never seen
anyone, even in Venice, dance the forlana so splendidly. After a few
minutes rest, rather ashamed of my feeling tired, I went up to her, and
said, 'Ancora sei, a poi basta, se non volete vedermi a morire.' She
would have answered me if she had been able, but she wore one of those
cruel masks which forbid speech. But a pressure of her hand which nobody
could see made me guess all I wanted to know. The moment we finished
dancing the eunuch opened the door, and my lovely partner disappeared.

Ismail could not thank me enough, but it was I who owed him my thanks,
for it was the only real pleasure which I enjoyed in Constantinople. I
asked him whether the lady was from Venice, but he only answered by a
significant smile.

"The worthy Ismail," said M. de Bonneval to me, as we were leaving the
house late in the evening, "has been to-day the dupe of his vanity, and I
have no doubt that he is sorry already for what he has done. To bring out
his beautiful slave to dance with you! According to the prejudices of
this country it is injurious to his dignity, for you are sure to have
kindled an amorous flame in the poor girl's breast. I would advise you to
be careful and to keep on your guard, because she will try to get up some
intrigue with you; but be prudent, for intrigues are always dangerous in
Turkey."

I promised to be prudent, but I did not keep my promise; for, three or
four days afterwards, an old slave woman met me in the street, and
offered to sell me for one piaster a tobacco-bag embroidered in gold; and
as she put it in my hand she contrived to make me feel that there was a
letter in the bag.

I observed that she tried to avoid the eyes of the janissary who was
walking behind me; I gave her one piaster, she left me, and I proceeded
toward Yusuf's house. He was not at home, and I went to his garden to
read the letter with perfect freedom. It was sealed and without any
address, and the slave might have made a mistake; but my curiosity was
excited to the highest pitch; I broke the seal, and found the following
note written in good enough Italian:

"Should you wish to see the person with whom you danced the forlana, take
a walk towards evening in the garden beyond the fountain, and contrive to
become acquainted with the old servant of the gardener by asking her for
some lemonade. You may perchance manage to see your partner in the
forlana without running any risk, even if you should happen to meet
Ismail; she is a native of Venice. Be careful not to mention this
invitation to any human being."

"I am not such a fool, my lovely countrywoman," I exclaimed, as if she
had been present, and put the letter in my pocket. But at that very
moment, a fine-looking elderly woman came out of a thicket, pronounced my
name, and enquired what I wanted and how I had seen her. I answered that
I had been speaking to the wind, not supposing that anyone could hear me,
and without any more preparation, she abruptly told me that she was very
glad of the opportunity of speaking with me, that she was from Rome, that
she had brought up Zelmi, and had taught her to sing and to play the
harp. She then praised highly the beauty and the excellent qualities of
her pupil, saying that, if I saw her, I would certainly fall in love with
her, and expressing how much she regretted that the law should not allow
it.

"She sees us at this very moment," she added, "from behind that green
window-blind, and we love you ever since Yusuf has informed us that you
may, perhaps, become Zelmi's husband."

"May I mention our conversation to Yusuf?" I enquired.

"No."

Her answering in the negative made me understand that, if I had pressed
her a little, she would have allowed me to see her lovely pupil, and
perhaps it was with that intention that she had contrived to speak to me,
but I felt great reluctance to do anything to displease my worthy host. I
had another reason of even greater importance: I was afraid of entering
an intricate maze in which the sight of a turban hovering over me made me
shudder.

Yusuf came home, and far from being angry when he saw me with the woman,
he remarked that I must have found much pleasure in conversing with a
native of Rome, and he congratulated me upon the delight I must have felt
in dancing with one of the beauties from the harem of the voluptuous
Ismail.

"Then it must be a pleasure seldom enjoyed, if it is so much talked of?"

"Very seldom indeed, for there is amongst us an invincible prejudice
against exposing our lovely women to the eyes of other men; but everyone
may do as he pleases in his own house: Ismail is a very worthy and a very
intelligent man."

"Is the lady with whom I danced known?"

"I believe not. She wore a mask, and everybody knows that Ismail
possesses half a dozen slaves of surpassing beauty."

I spent a pleasant day with Yusuf, and when I left him, I ordered my
janissary to take me to Ismail's. As I was known by his servants, they
allowed me to go in, and I proceeded to the spot described in the letter.
The eunuch came to me, informed me that his master was out, but that he
would be delighted to hear of my having taken a walk in the garden. I
told him that I would like a glass of lemonade, and he took me to the
summerhouse, where I recognized the old woman who had sold me the
tobacco-pouch. The eunuch told her to give me a glass of some liquid
which I found delicious, and would not allow me to give her any money. We
then walked together towards the fountain, but he told me abruptly that
we were to go back, as he saw three ladies to whom he pointed, adding
that, for the sake of decency, it was necessary to avoid them. I thanked
him for his attentions, left my compliments for Ismail, and went away not
dissatisfied with my first attempt, and with the hope of being more
fortunate another time.

The next morning I received a letter from Ismail inviting me to go
fishing with him on the following day, and stating that he intended to
enjoy the sport by moonlight. I immediately gave way to my suppositions,
and I went so far as to fancy that Ismail might be capable of arranging
an interview between me and the lovely Venetian. I did not mind his being
present. I begged permission of Chevalier Venier to stop out of the
palace for one night, but he granted it with the greatest difficulty,
because he was afraid of some love affair and of the results it might
have. I took care to calm his anxiety as much as I could, but without
acquainting him with all the circumstances of the case, for I thought I
was wise in being discreet.

I was exact to the appointed time, and Ismail received me with the utmost
cordiality, but I was surprised when I found myself alone with him in the
boat. We had two rowers and a man to steer; we took some fish, fried in
oil, and ate it in the summer-house. The moon shone brightly, and the
night was delightful. Alone with Ismail, and knowing his unnatural
tastes, I did not feel very comfortable for, in spite of what M. de
Bonneval had told me, I was afraid lest the Turk should take a fancy to
give me too great a proof of his friendship, and I did not relish our
tete-a-tete. But my fears were groundless.

"Let us leave this place quietly," said Ismail, "I have just heard a
slight noise which heralds something that will amuse us."

He dismissed his attendants, and took my hand, saying,

"Let us go to a small room, the key of which I luckily have with me, but
let us be careful not to make any noise. That room has a window
overlooking the fountain where I think that two or three of my beauties
have just gone to bathe. We will see them and enjoy a very pleasing
sight, for they do not imagine that anyone is looking at them. They know
that the place is forbidden to everybody except me."

We entered the room, we went to the window, and, the moon shining right
over the basin of the fountain, we saw three nymphs who, now swimming,
now standing or sitting on the marble steps, offered themselves to our
eyes in every possible position, and in all the attitudes of graceful
voluptuousness. Dear reader, I must not paint in too vivid colours the
details of that beautiful picture, but if nature has endowed you with an
ardent imagination and with equally ardent senses, you will easily
imagine the fearful havoc which that unique, wonderful, and enchanting
sight must have made upon my poor body.

A few days after that delightful fishing and bathing party by moonlight,
I called upon Yusuf early in the morning; as it was raining, I could not
go to the garden, and I went into the dining-room, in which I had never
seen anyone. The moment I entered the room, a charming female form rose,
covering her features with a thick veil which fell to the feet. A slave
was sitting near the window, doing some tambour-work, but she did not
move. I apologized, and turned to leave the room, but the lady stopped
me, observing, with a sweet voice, that Yusuf had commanded her to
entertain me before going out. She invited me to be seated, pointing to a
rich cushion placed upon two larger ones, and I obeyed, while, crossing
her legs, she sat down upon another cushion opposite to me. I thought I
was looking upon Zelmi, and fancied that Yusuf had made up his mind to
shew me that he was not less courageous than Ismail. Yet I was surprised,
for, by such a proceeding, he strongly contradicted his maxims, and ran
the risk of impairing the unbiased purity of my consent by throwing love
in the balance. But I had no fear of that, because, to become enamoured,
I should have required to see her face.

"I suppose," said the veiled beauty, "that you do not know who I am?"

"I could not guess, if I tried."

"I have been for the last five years the wife of your friend, and I am a
native of Scio. I was thirteen years of age when I became his wife."

I was greatly astonished to find that my Mussulman philosopher had gone
so far as to allow me to converse with his wife, but I felt more at ease
after I had received that information, and fancied that I might carry the
adventure further, but it would be necessary to see the lady's face, for
a finely-dressed body, the head of which is not seen, excites but feeble
desires. The fire lighted by amorous desires is like a fire of straw; the
moment it burns up it is near its end. I had before me a magnificent
appearance, but I could not see the soul of the image, for a thick gauze
concealed it from my hungry gaze. I could see arms as white as alabaster,
and hands like those of Alcina, 'dove ne nodo appasisce ne vena accede',
and my active imagination fancied that all the rest was in harmony with
those beautiful specimens, for the graceful folds of the muslin, leaving
the outline all its perfection, hid from me only the living satin of the
surface; there was no doubt that everything was lovely, but I wanted to
see, in the expression of her eyes, that all that my imagination created
had life and was endowed with feeling. The Oriental costume is a
beautiful varnish placed upon a porcelain vase to protect from the touch
the colours of the flowers and of the design, without lessening the
pleasure of the eyes. Yusuf's wife was not dressed like a sultana; she
wore the costume of Scio, with a short skirt which concealed neither the
perfection of the leg nor the round form of the thigh, nor the voluptuous
plump fall of the hips, nor the slender, well-made waist encompassed in a
splendid band embroidered in silver and covered with arabesques. Above
all those beauties, I could see the shape of two globes which Apelles
would have taken for the model of those of his lovely Venus, and the
rapid, inequal movement of which proved to me that those ravishing
hillocks were animated. The small valley left between them, and which my
eyes greedily feasted upon, seemed to me a lake of nectar, in which my
burning lips longed to quench their thirst with more ardour than they
would have drunk from the cup of the gods.

Enraptured, unable to control myself, I thrust my arm forward by a
movement almost independent of my will, and my hand, too audacious, was
on the point of lifting the hateful veil, but she prevented me by raising
herself quickly on tiptoe, upbraiding me at the same time for my
perfidious boldness, with a voice as commanding as her attitude.

"Dost thou deserve," she said, "Yusuf's friendship, when thou abusest the
sacred laws of hospitality by insulting his wife?"

"Madam, you must kindly forgive me, for I never had any intention to
insult you. In my country the lowest of men may fix his eyes upon the
face of a queen."

"Yes, but he cannot tear off her veil, if she chooses to wear it. Yusuf
shall avenge me."

The threat, and the tone in which it was pronounced, frightened me. I
threw myself at her feet, and succeeded in calming her anger.

"Take a seat," she said.

And she sat down herself, crossing her legs with so much freedom that I
caught a glimpse of charms which would have caused me to lose all control
over myself if the delightful sight had remained one moment longer
exposed to my eyes. I then saw that I had gone the wrong way to work, and
I felt vexed with myself; but it was too late.

"Art thou excited?" she said.

"How could I be otherwise," I answered, "when thou art scorching me with
an ardent fire?"

I had become more prudent, and I seized her hand without thinking any
more of her face.

"Here is my husband," she said, and Yusuf came into the room. We rose,
Yusuf embraced me, I complimented him, the slave left the room. Yusuf
thanked his wife for having entertained me, and offered her his arm to
take her to her own apartment. She took it, but when she reached the
door, she raised her veil, and kissing her husband she allowed me to see
her lovely face as if it had been done unwittingly. I followed her with
my eyes as long as I could, and Yusuf, coming back to me, said with a
laugh that his wife had offered to dine with us.

"I thought," I said to him, "that I had Zelmi before me."

"That would have been too much against our established rules. What I have
done is not much, but I do not know an honest man who would be bold
enough to bring his daughter into the presence of a stranger."

"I think your wife must be handsome; is she more beautiful than Zelmi?"

"My daughter's beauty is cheerful, sweet, and gentle; that of Sophia is
proud and haughty. She will be happy after my death. The man who will
marry her will find her a virgin."

I gave an account of my adventure to M. de Bonneval, somewhat
exaggerating the danger I had run in trying to raise the veil of the
handsome daughter of Scio.

"She was laughing at you," said the count, "and you ran no danger. She
felt very sorry, believe me, to have to deal with a novice like you. You
have been playing the comedy in the French fashion, when you ought to
have gone straight to the point. What on earth did you want to see her
nose for? She knew very well that she would have gained nothing by
allowing you to see her. You ought to have secured the essential point.
If I were young I would perhaps manage to give her a revenge, and to
punish my friend Yusuf. You have given that lovely woman a poor opinion
of Italian valour. The most reserved of Turkish women has no modesty
except on her face, and, with her veil over it, she knows to a certainty
that she will not blush at anything. I am certain that your beauty keeps
her face covered whenever our friend Yusuf wishes to joke with her."

"She is yet a virgin."

"Rather a difficult thing to admit, my good friend; but I know the
daughters of Scio; they have a talent for counterfeiting virginity."

Yusuf never paid me a similar compliment again, and he was quite right.

A few days after, I happened to be in the shop of an Armenian merchant,
looking at some beautiful goods, when Yusuf entered the shop and praised
my taste; but, although I had admired a great many things, I did not buy,
because I thought they were too dear. I said so to Yusuf, but he remarked
that they were, on the contrary, very cheap, and he purchased them all.
We parted company at the door, and the next morning I received all the
beautiful things he had bought; it was a delicate attention of my friend,
and to prevent my refusal of such a splendid present, he had enclosed a
note stating that, on my arrival in Corfu, he would let me know to whom
the goods were to be delivered. He had thus sent me gold and silver
filigrees from Damascus, portfolios, scarfs, belts, handkerchiefs and
pipes, the whole worth four or five hundred piasters. When I called to
thank him, I compelled him to confess that it was a present offered by
his friendship.

The day before my departure from Constantinople, the excellent man burst
into tears as I bade him adieu, and my grief was as great as his own. He
told me that, by not accepting the offer of his daughter's hand, I had so
strongly captivated his esteem that his feelings for me could not have
been warmer if I had become his son. When I went on board ship with the
Bailo Jean Dona, I found another case given to me by him, containing two
quintals of the best Mocha coffee, one hundred pounds of tobacco leaves,
two large flagons filled, one with Zabandi tobacco, the other with
camussa, and a magnificent pipe tube of jessamine wood, covered with gold
filigrane, which I sold in Corfu for one hundred sequins. I had not it in
my power to give my generous Turk any mark of my gratitude until I
reached Corfu, but there I did not fail to do so. I sold all his
beautiful presents, which made me the possessor of a small fortune.

Ismail gave me a letter for the Chevalier de Lezze, but I could not
forward it to him because I unfortunately lost it; he presented me with a
barrel of hydromel, which I turned likewise into money. M. de Bonneval
gave me a letter for Cardinal Acquaviva, which I sent to Rome with an
account of my journey, but his eminence did not think fit to acknowledge
the receipt of either. Bonneval made me a present of twelve bottles of
malmsey from Ragusa, and of twelve bottles of genuine scopolo--a great
rarity, with which I made a present in Corfu which proved very useful to
me, as the reader will discover.

The only foreign minister I saw much in Constantinople was the lord
marshal of Scotland, the celebrated Keith, who represented the King of
Prussia, and who, six years later was of great service to me in Paris.

We sailed from Constantinople in the beginning of September in the same
man-of-war which had brought us, and we reached Corfu in fourteen days.
The Bailo Dona did not land. He had with him eight splendid Turkish
horses; I saw two of them still alive in Gorizia in the year 1773.

As soon as I had landed with my luggage, and had engaged a rather mean
lodging, I presented myself to M. Andre Dolfin, the proveditore-generale,
who promised me again that I should soon be promoted to a lieutenancy.
After my visit to him, I called upon M. Camporese, my captain, and was
well received by him. My third visit was to the commander of galleases,
M. D---- R-----, to whom M. Antonio Dolfin, with whom I had travelled from
Venice to Corfu, had kindly recommended me. After a short conversation,
he asked me if I would remain with him with the title of adjutant. I did
not hesitate one instant, but accepted, saying how deeply honoured I felt
by his offer, and assuring him that he would always find me ready to
carry out his orders. He immediately had me taken to my room, and, the
next day, I found myself established in his house. I obtained from my
captain a French soldier to serve me, and I was well pleased when I found
that the man was a hairdresser by trade, and a great talker by nature,
for he could take care of my beautiful head of hair, and I wanted to
practise French conversation. He was a good-for-nothing fellow, a
drunkard and a debauchee, a peasant from Picardy, and he could hardly
read or write, but I did not mind all that; all I wanted from him was to
serve me, and to talk to me, and his French was pretty good. He was an
amusing rogue, knowing by heart a quantity of erotic songs and of smutty
stories which he could tell in the most laughable manner.

When I had sold my stock of goods from Constantinople (except the wines),
I found myself the owner of nearly five hundred sequins. I redeemed all
the articles which I had pledged in the hands of Jews, and turned into
money everything of which I had no need. I was determined not to play any
longer as a dupe, but to secure in gambling all the advantages which a
prudent young man could obtain without sullying his honour.

I must now make my readers acquainted with the sort of life we were at
that time leading in Corfu. As to the city itself, I will not describe
it, because there are already many descriptions better than the one I
could offer in these pages.

We had then in Corfu the 'proveditore-generale' who had sovereign
authority, and lived in a style of great magnificence. That post was then
filled by M. Andre Dolfin, a man sixty years of age, strict, headstrong,
and ignorant. He no longer cared for women, but liked to be courted by
them. He received every evening, and the supper-table was always laid for
twenty-four persons.

We had three field-officers of the marines who did duty on the galleys,
and three field-officers for the troops of the line on board the
men-of-war. Each galeass had a captain called 'sopracomito', and we had
ten of those captains; we had likewise ten commanders, one for each
man-of-war, including three 'capi di mare', or admirals. They all
belonged to the nobility of Venice. Ten young Venetian noblemen, from
twenty to twenty-two years of age, were at Corfu as midshipmen in the
navy. We had, besides, about a dozen civil clerks in the police of the
island, or in the administration of justice, entitled 'grandi offciali di
terra'. Those who were blessed with handsome wives had the pleasure of
seeing their houses very much frequented by admirers who aspired to win
the favours of the ladies, but there was not much heroic love-making,
perhaps for the reason that there were then in Corfu many Aspasias whose
favours could be had for money. Gambling was allowed everywhere, and that
all absorbing passion was very prejudicial to the emotions of the heart.

The lady who was then most eminent for beauty and gallantry was Madame
F----. Her husband, captain of a galley, had come to Corfu with her the
year before, and madam had greatly astonished all the naval officers.
Thinking that she had the privilege of the choice, she had given the
preference to M. D---- R-----, and had dismissed all the suitors who
presented themselves. M. F---- had married her on the very day she had
left the convent; she was only seventeen years of age then, and he had
brought her on board his galley immediately after the marriage ceremony.

I saw her for the first time at the dinner-table on the very day of my
installation at M. D---- R-----'s, and she made a great impression upon
me. I thought I was gazing at a supernatural being, so infinitely above
all the women I had ever seen, that it seemed impossible to fall in love
with her She appeared to me of a nature different and so greatly superior
to mine that I did not see the possibility of rising up to her. I even
went so far as to persuade myself that nothing but a Platonic friendship
could exist between her and M. D---- R-----, and that M. F---- was quite
right now not to shew any jealousy. Yet, that M. F---- was a perfect fool,
and certainly not worthy of such a woman. The impression made upon me by
Madame F---- was too ridiculous to last long, and the nature of it soon
changed, but in a novel manner, at least as far as I was concerned.

My position as adjutant procured me the honour of dining at M.
D---- R-----'s table, but nothing more. The other adjutant, like me, an
ensign in the army, but the greatest fool I had ever seen, shared that
honour with me. We were not, however, considered as guests, for nobody
ever spoke to us, and, what is more, no one ever honoured us with a look.
It used to put me in a rage. I knew very well that people acted in that
manner through no real contempt for us, but it went very hard with me. I
could very well understand that my colleague, Sanzonio, should not
complain of such treatment, because he was a blockhead, but I did not
feel disposed to allow myself to be put on a par with him. At the end of
eight or ten days, Madame F----, not having con descended to cast one
glance upon my person, began to appear disagreeable to me. I felt piqued,
vexed, provoked, and the more so because I could not suppose that the
lady acted in that manner wilfully and purposely; I would have been
highly pleased if there had been premeditation on her part. I felt
satisfied that I was a nobody in her estimation, and as I was conscious
of being somebody, I wanted her to know it. At last a circumstance
offered itself in which, thinking that she could address me, she was
compelled to look at me.

M. D---- R---- having observed that a very, very fine turkey had been
placed before me, told me to carve it, and I immediately went to work. I
was not a skilful carver, and Madame F----, laughing at my want of
dexterity, told me that, if I had not been certain of performing my task
with credit to myself, I ought not to have undertaken it. Full of
confusion, and unable to answer her as my anger prompted, I sat down,
with my heart overflowing with spite and hatred against her. To crown my
rage, having one day to address me, she asked me what was my name. She
had seen me every day for a fortnight, ever since I had been the adjutant
of M. D---- R----; therefore she ought to have known my name. Besides, I
had been very lucky at the gaming-table, and I had become rather famous
in Corfu. My anger against Madame F was at its height.

I had placed my money in the hands of a certain Maroli, a major in the
army and a gamester by profession, who held the faro bank at the
coffee-house. We were partners; I helped him when he dealt, and he
rendered me the same office when I held the cards, which was often the
case, because he was not generally liked. He used to hold the cards in a
way which frightened the punters; my manners were very different, and I
was very lucky. Besides I was easy and smiling when my bank was losing,
and I won without shewing any avidity, and that is a manner which always
pleases the punters.

This Maroli was the man who had won all my money during my first stay in
Corfu, and finding, when I returned, that I was resolved not to be duped
any more, he judged me worthy of sharing the wise maxims without which
gambling must necessarily ruin all those who meddle with it. But as
Maroli had won my confidence only to a very slight extent, I was very
careful. We made up our accounts every night, as soon as playing was
over; the cashier kept the capital of the bank, the winnings were
divided, and each took his share away. Lucky at play, enjoying good
health and the friendship of my comrades, who, whenever the opportunity
offered, always found me generous and ready to serve them, I would have
been well pleased with my position if I had been a little more considered
at the table of M. D---- R-----, and treated with less haughtiness by his
lady who, without any reason, seemed disposed to humiliate me. My
self-love was deeply hurt, I hated her, and, with such a disposition of
mind, the more I admired the perfection of her charms, the more I found
her deficient in wit and intelligence. She might have made the conquest
of my heart without bestowing hers upon me, for all I wanted was not to
be compelled to hate her, and I could not understand what pleasure it
could be for her to be detested, while with only a little kindness she
could have been adored. I could not ascribe her manner to a spirit of
coquetry, for I had never given her the slightest proof of the opinion I
entertained of her beauty, and I could not therefore attribute her
behaviour to a passion which might have rendered me disagreeable in her
eyes; M. D---- R---- seemed to interest her only in a very slight manner,
and as to her husband, she cared nothing for him. In short, that charming
woman made me very unhappy, and I was angry with myself because I felt
that, if it had not been for the manner in which she treated me, I would
not have thought of her, and my vexation was increased by the feeling of
hatred entertained by my heart against her, a feeling which until then I
had never known to exist in me, and the discovery of which overwhelmed me
with confusion.

One day a gentleman handed me, as we were leaving the dinner-table, a
roll of gold that he had lost upon trust; Madame F---- saw it, and she
said to me very abruptly,--

"What do you do with your money?"

"I keep it, madam, as a provision against possible losses."

"But as you do not indulge in any expense it would be better for you not
to play; it is time wasted."

"Time given to pleasure is never time lost, madam; the only time which a
young man wastes is that which is consumed in weariness, because when he
is a prey to ennui he is likely to fall a prey to love, and to be
despised by the object of his affection."

"Very likely; but you amuse yourself with hoarding up your money, and
shew yourself to be a miser, and a miser is not less contemptible than a
man in love. Why do you not buy yourself a pair of gloves?"

You may be sure that at these words the laughter was all on her side, and
my vexation was all the greater because I could not deny that she was
quite right. It was the adjutant's business to give the ladies an arm to
their carriages, and it was not proper to fulfil that duty without
gloves. I felt mortified, and the reproach of avarice hurt me deeply. I
would a thousand times rather that she had laid my error to a want of
education; and yet, so full of contradictions is the human heart, instead
of making amends by adopting an appearance of elegance which the state of
my finances enabled me to keep up, I did not purchase any gloves, and I
resolved to avoid her and to abandon her to the insipid and dull
gallantry of Sanzonio, who sported gloves, but whose teeth were rotten,
whose breath was putrid, who wore a wig, and whose face seemed to be
covered with shrivelled yellow parchment.

I spent my days in a continual state of rage and spite, and the most
absurd part of it all was that I felt unhappy because I could not control
my hatred for that woman whom, in good conscience, I could not find
guilty of anything. She had for me neither love nor dislike, which was
quite natural; but being young and disposed to enjoy myself I had become,
without any wilful malice on her part, an eye-sore to her and the butt of
her bantering jokes, which my sensitiveness exaggerated greatly. For all
that I had an ardent wish to punish her and to make her repent. I thought
of nothing else. At one time I would think of devoting all my
intelligence and all my money to kindling an amorous passion in her
heart, and then to revenge myself by treating her with contempt. But I
soon realized the impracticability of such a plan, for even supposing
that I should succeed in finding my way to her heart, was I the man to
resist my own success with such a woman? I certainly could not flatter
myself that I was so strong-minded. But I was the pet child of fortune,
and my position was suddenly altered.

M. D---- R---- having sent me with dispatches to M. de Condulmer, captain
of a 'galeazza', I had to wait until midnight to deliver them, and when I
returned I found that M. D---- R---- had retired to his apartment for the
night. As soon as he was visible in the morning I went to him to render
an account of my mission. I had been with him only a few minutes when his
valet brought a letter saying that Madame F----'s adjutant was waiting
for an answer. M. D---- R---- read the note, tore it to pieces, and in his
excitement stamped with his foot upon the fragments. He walked up and
down the room for a little time, then wrote an answer and rang for the
adjutant, to whom he delivered it. He then recovered his usual composure,
concluded the perusal of the dispatch sent by M. de Condulmer, and told
me to write a letter. He was looking it over when the valet came in,
telling me that Madame F---- desired to see me. M. D---- R---- told me that
he did not require my services any more for the present, and that I might
go. I left the room, but I had not gone ten yards when he called me back
to remind me that my duty was to know nothing; I begged to assure him
that I was well aware of that. I ran to Madame F-----'s house, very eager
to know what she wanted with me. I was introduced immediately, and I was
greatly surprised to find her sitting up in bed, her countenance flushed
and excited, and her eyes red from the tears she had evidently just been
shedding. My heart was beating quickly, yet I did not know why.

"Pray be seated," she said, "I wish to speak with you."

"Madam," I answered, "I am not worthy of so great a favour, and I have
not yet done anything to deserve it; allow me to remain standing."

She very likely recollected that she had never been so polite before, and
dared not press me any further. She collected her thoughts for an instant
or two, and said to me:

"Last evening my husband lost two hundred sequins upon trust at your faro
bank; he believed that amount to be in my hands, and I must therefore
give it to him immediately, as he is bound in honour to pay his losses
to-day. Unfortunately I have disposed of the money, and I am in great
trouble. I thought you might tell Maroli that I have paid you the amount
lost by my husband. Here is a ring of some value; keep it until the 1st
of January, when I will return the two hundred sequins for which I am
ready to give you my note of hand."

"I accept the note of hand, madam, but I cannot consent to deprive you of
your ring. I must also tell you that M. F---- must go himself to the bank,
or send some one there, to redeem his debt. Within ten minutes you shall
have the amount you require."

I left her without waiting for an answer, and I returned within a few
minutes with the two hundred ducats, which I handed to her, and putting
in my pocket her note of hand which she had just written, I bowed to take
my leave, but she addressed to me these precious words:

"I believe, sir, that if I had known that you were so well disposed to
oblige me, I could not have made up my mind to beg that service from
you."

"Well, madam, for the future be quite certain that there is not a man in
the world capable of refusing you such an insignificant service whenever
you will condescend to ask for it in person."

"What you say is very complimentary, but I trust never to find myself
again under the necessity of making such a cruel experiment."

I left Madame F-----, thinking of the shrewdness of her answer. She had
not told me that I was mistaken, as I had expected she would, for that
would have caused her some humiliation: she knew that I was with M.
D---- R---- when the adjutant had brought her letter, and she could not
doubt that I was aware of the refusal she had met with. The fact of her
not mentioning it proved to me that she was jealous of her own dignity;
it afforded me great gratification, and I thought her worthy of
adoration. I saw clearly that she could have no love for M. D---- R-----,
and that she was not loved by him, and the discovery made me leap for
joy. From that moment I felt I was in love with her, and I conceived the
hope that she might return my ardent affection.

The first thing I did, when I returned to my room, was to cross out with
ink every word of her note of hand, except her name, in such a manner
that it was impossible to guess at the contents, and putting it in an
envelope carefully sealed, I deposited it in the hands of a public notary
who stated, in the receipt he gave me of the envelope, that he would
deliver it only to Madame F-----, whenever she should request its
delivery.

The same evening M. F---- came to the bank, paid me, played with cash in
hand, and won some fifty ducats. What caused me the greatest surprise was
that M. D---- R---- continued to be very gracious to Madame F----, and
that she remained exactly the same towards him as she used to be before.
He did not even enquire what she wanted when she had sent for me. But if
she did not seem to change her manner towards my master, it was a very
different case with me, for whenever she was opposite to me at dinner,
she often addressed herself to me, and she thus gave me many
opportunities of shewing my education and my wit in amusing stories or in
remarks, in which I took care to blend instruction with witty jests. At
that time F---- had the great talent of making others laugh while I kept a
serious countenance myself. I had learnt that accomplishment from M. de
Malipiero, my first master in the art of good breeding, who used to say
to me,--

"If you wish your audience to cry, you must shed tears yourself, but if
you wish to make them laugh you must contrive to look as serious as a
judge."

In everything I did, in every word I uttered, in the presence of Madame
F----, the only aim I had was to please her, but I did not wish her to
suppose so, and I never looked at her unless she spoke to me. I wanted to
force her curiosity, to compel her to suspect nay, to guess my secret,
but without giving her any advantage over me: it was necessary for me to
proceed by slow degrees. In the mean time, and until I should have a
greater happiness, I was glad to see that my money, that magic talisman,
and my good conduct, obtained me a consideration much greater than I
could have hoped to obtain either through my position, or from my age, or
in consequence of any talent I might have shewn in the profession I had
adopted.

Towards the middle of November, the soldier who acted as my servant was
attacked with inflammation of the chest; I gave notice of it to the
captain of his company, and he was carried to the hospital. On the fourth
day I was told that he would not recover, and that he had received the
last sacraments; in the evening I happened to be at his captain's when
the priest who had attended him came to announce his death, and to
deliver a small parcel which the dying man had entrusted to him to be
given up to his captain only after his death. The parcel contained a
brass seal engraved with ducal arms, a certificate of baptism, and a
sheet of paper covered with writing in French. Captain Camporese, who
only spoke Italian, begged me to translate the paper, the contents of
which were as follows:

"My will is that this paper, which I have written and signed with my own
hand, shall be delivered to my captain only after I have breathed my
last: until then, my confessor shall not make any use of it, for I
entrust it to his hands only under the seal of confession. I entreat my
captain to have me buried in a vault from which my body can be exhumed in
case the duke, my father, should request its exhumation. I entreat him
likewise to forward my certificate of baptism, the seal with the armorial
bearings of my family, and a legal certificate of my birth to the French
ambassador in Venice, who will send the whole to the duke, my father, my
rights of primogeniture belonging, after my demise, to the prince, my
brother. In faith of which I have signed and sealed these presents:
Francois VI. Charles Philippe Louis Foucaud, Prince de la Rochefoucault."

The certificate of baptism, delivered at St. Sulpice gave the same names,
and the title of the father was Francois V. The name of the mother was
Gabrielle du Plessis.

As I was concluding my translation I could not help bursting into loud
laughter; but the foolish captain, who thought my mirth out of
place, hurried out to render an account of the affair to the
proveditore-generale, and I went to the coffee-house, not doubting for
one moment that his excellency would laugh at the captain, and that the
post-mortem buffoonery would greatly amuse the whole of Corfu.

I had known in Rome, at Cardinal Acquaviva's, the Abbe de Liancourt,
great-grandson of Charles, whose sister, Gabrielle du Plessis, had been
the wife of Francois V., but that dated from the beginning of the last
century. I had made a copy from the records of the cardinal of the
account of certain circumstances which the Abbe de Liancourt wanted to
communicate to the court of Spain, and in which there were a great many
particulars respecting the house of Du Plessis. I thought at the same
time that the singular imposture of La Valeur (such was the name by which
my soldier generally went) was absurd and without a motive, since it was
to be known only after his death, and could not therefore prove of any
advantage to him.

Half an hour afterwards, as I was opening a fresh pack of cards, the
Adjutant Sanzonio came in, and told the important news in the most
serious manner. He had just come from the office of the proveditore,
where Captain Camporese had run in the utmost hurry to deposit in the
hands of his excellency the seal and the papers of the deceased prince.
His excellency had immediately issued his orders for the burial of the
prince in a vault with all the honours due to his exalted rank. Another
half hour passed, and M. Minolto, adjutant of the proveditore-generale,
came to inform me that his excellency wanted to see me. I passed the
cards to Major Maroli, and went to his excellency's house. I found him at
supper with several ladies, three or four naval commanders, Madame F----,
and M. D---- R-----.

"So, your servant was a prince!" said the old general to me.

"Your excellency, I never would have suspected it, and even now that he
is dead I do not believe it."

"Why? He is dead, but he was not insane. You have seen his armorial
bearings, his certificate of baptism, as well as what he wrote with his
own hand. When a man is so near death, he does not fancy practical
jokes."

"If your excellency is satisfied of the truth of the story, my duty is to
remain silent."

"The story cannot be anything but true, and your doubts surprise me."

"I doubt, monsignor, because I happen to have positive information
respecting the families of La Rochefoucault and Du Plessis. Besides, I
have seen too much of the man. He was not a madman, but he certainly was
an extravagant jester. I have never seen him write, and he has told me
himself a score of times that he had never learned."

"The paper he has written proves the contrary. His arms have the ducal
bearings; but perhaps you are not aware that M. de la Rochefoucault is a
duke and peer of the French realm?"

"I beg your eminence's pardon; I know all about it; I know even more, for
I know that Francois VI. married a daughter of the house of Vivonne."

"You know nothing."

When I heard this remark, as foolish as it was rude, I resolved on
remaining silent, and it was with some pleasure that I observed the joy
felt by all the male guests at what they thought an insult and a blow to
my vanity. An officer remarked that the deceased was a fine man, a witty
man, and had shewn wonderful cleverness in keeping up his assumed
character so well that no one ever had the faintest suspicion of what he
really was. A lady said that, if she had known him, she would have been
certain to find him out. Another flatterer, belonging to that mean,
contemptible race always to be found near the great and wealthy of the
earth, assured us that the late prince had always shewn himself cheerful,
amiable, obliging, devoid of haughtiness towards his comrades, and that
he used to sing beautifully. "He was only twenty-five years of age," said
Madame Sagredo, looking me full in the face, "and if he was endowed with
all those qualities, you must have discovered them."

"I can only give you, madam, a true likeness of the man, such as I have
seen him. Always gay, often even to folly, for he could throw a
somersault beautifully; singing songs of a very erotic kind, full of
stories and of popular tales of magic, miracles, and ghosts, and a
thousand marvellous feats which common-sense refused to believe, and
which, for that very reason, provoked the mirth of his hearers. His
faults were that he was drunken, dirty, quarrelsome, dissolute, and
somewhat of a cheat. I put up with all his deficiences, because he
dressed my hair to my taste, and his constant chattering offered me the
opportunity of practising the colloquial French which cannot be acquired
from books. He has always assured me that he was born in Picardy, the son
of a common peasant, and that he had deserted from the French army. He
may have deceived me when he said that he could not write."

Just then Camporese rushed into the room, and announced that La Veleur
was yet breathing. The general, looking at me significantly, said that he
would be delighted if the man could be saved.

"And I likewise, monsignor, but his confessor will certainly kill him
to-night."

"Why should the father confessor kill him?"

"To escape the galleys to which your excellency would not fail to send
him for having violated the secrecy of the confessional."

Everybody burst out laughing, but the foolish old general knitted his
brows. The guests retired soon afterwards, and Madame F-----, whom I had
preceded to the carriage, M. D---- R---- having offered her his arm,
invited me to get in with her, saying that it was raining. It was the
first time that she had bestowed such an honour upon me.

"I am of your opinion about that prince," she said, "but you have
incurred the displeasure of the proveditore."

"I am very sorry, madam, but it could not have been avoided, for I cannot
help speaking the truth openly."

"You might have spared him," remarked M. D---- R-----, "the cutting jest
of the confessor killing the false prince."

"You are right, sir, but I thought it would make him laugh as well as it
made madam and your excellency. In conversation people generally do not
object to a witty jest causing merriment and laughter."

"True; only those who have not wit enough to laugh do not like the jest."

"I bet a hundred sequins that the madman will recover, and that, having
the general on his side, he will reap all the advantages of his
imposture. I long to see him treated as a prince, and making love to
Madame Sagredo."

Hearing the last words, Madame F-----, who did not like Madame Sagredo,
laughed heartily, and, as we were getting out of the carriage, M.
D---- R---- invited me to accompany them upstairs. He was in the habit of
spending half an hour alone with her at her own house when they had taken
supper together with the general, for her husband never shewed himself.
It was the first time that the happy couple admitted a third person to
their tete-a-tete. I felt very proud of the compliment thus paid to me,
and I thought it might have important results for me. My satisfaction,
which I concealed as well as I could, did not prevent me from being very
gay and from giving a comic turn to every subject brought forward by the
lady or by her lord.

We kept up our pleasant trio for four hours; and returned to the mansion
of M. D---- R---- only at two o'clock in the morning. It was during that
night that Madame F---- and M. D---- R---- really made my acquaintance.
Madame F---- told him that she had never laughed so much, and that she had
never imagined that a conversation, in appearance so simple, could afford
so much pleasure and merriment. On my side, I discovered in her so much
wit and cheerfulness, that I became deeply enamoured, and went to bed
fully satisfied that, in the future, I could not keep up the show of
indifference which I had so far assumed towards her.

When I woke up the next morning, I heard from the new soldier who served
me that La Valeur was better, and had been pronounced out of danger by
the physician. At dinner the conversation fell upon him, but I did not
open my lips. Two days afterwards, the general gave orders to have him
removed to a comfortable apartment, sent him a servant, clothed him, and
the over-credulous proveditore having paid him a visit, all the naval
commanders and officers thought it their duty to imitate him, and to
follow his example: the general curiosity was excited, there was a rush
to see the new prince. M. D---- R---- followed his leaders, and Madame
Sagredo, having set the ladies in motion, they all called upon him, with
the exception of Madame F----, who told me laughingly that she would not
pay him a visit unless I would consent to introduce her. I begged to be
excused. The knave was called your highness, and the wonderful prince
styled Madame Sagredo his princess. M. D---- R---- tried to persuade me to
call upon the rogue, but I told him that I had said too much, and that I
was neither courageous nor mean enough to retract my words. The whole
imposture would soon have been discovered if anyone had possessed a
peerage, but it just happened that there was not a copy in Corfu, and the
French consul, a fat blockhead, like many other consuls, knew nothing of
family trees. The madcap La Valeur began to walk out a week after his
metamorphosis into a prince. He dined and had supper every day with the
general, and every evening he was present at the reception, during which,
owing to his intemperance, he always went fast asleep. Yet, there were
two reasons which kept up the belief of his being a prince: the first was
that he did not seem afraid of the news expected from Venice, where the
proveditore had written immediately after the discovery; the second was
that he solicited from the bishop the punishment of the priest who had
betrayed his secret by violating the seal of confession. The poor priest
had already been sent to prison, and the proveditore had not the courage
to defend him. The new prince had been invited to dinner by all the naval
officers, but M. D---- R---- had not made up his mind to imitate them so
far, because Madame F---- had clearly warned him that she would dine at
her own house on the day he was invited. I had likewise respectfully
intimated that, on the same occasion, I would take the liberty of dining
somewhere else.

I met the prince one day as I was coming out of the old fortress leading
to the esplanade. He stopped, and reproached me for not having called
upon him. I laughed, and advised him to think of his safety before the
arrival of the news which would expose all the imposture, in which case
the proveditore was certain to treat him very severely. I offered to help
him in his flight from Corfu, and to get a Neapolitan captain, whose ship
was ready to sail, to conceal him on board; but the fool, instead of
accepting my offer, loaded me with insults.

He was courting Madame Sagredo, who treated him very well, feeling proud
that a French prince should have given her the preference over all the
other ladies. One day that she was dining in great ceremony at M.
D---- R-----'s house, she asked me why I had advised the prince to run
away.

"I have it from his own lips," she added, "and he cannot make out your
obstinacy in believing him an impostor."

"I have given him that advice, madam, because my heart is good, and my
judgment sane."

"Then we are all of us as many fools, the proveditore included?"

"That deduction would not be right, madam. An opinion contrary to that of
another does not necessarily make a fool of the person who entertains it.
It might possibly turn out, in ten or twelve days, that I have been
entirely mistaken myself, but I should not consider myself a fool in
consequence. In the mean time, a lady of your intelligence must have
discovered whether that man is a peasant or a prince by his education and
manners. For instance, does he dance well?"

"He does not know one step, but he is the first to laugh about it; he
says he never would learn dancing."

"Does he behave well at table?"

"Well, he doesn't stand on ceremony. He does not want his plate to be
changed, he helps himself with his spoon out of the dishes; he does not
know how to check an eructation or a yawn, and if he feels tired he
leaves the table. It is evident that he has been very badly brought up."

"And yet he is very pleasant, I suppose. Is he clean and neat?"

"No, but then he is not yet well provided with linen."

"I am told that he is very sober."

"You are joking. He leaves the table intoxicated twice a day, but he
ought to be pitied, for he cannot drink wine and keep his head clear.
Then he swears like a trooper, and we all laugh, but he never takes
offence."

"Is he witty?"

"He has a wonderful memory, for he tells us new stories every day."

"Does he speak of his family?"

"Very often of his mother, whom he loved tenderly. She was a Du Plessis."

"If his mother is still alive she must be a hundred and fifty years old."

"What nonsense!"

"Not at all; she was married in the days of Marie de Medicis."

"But the certificate of baptism names the prince's mother, and his
seal--"

"Does he know what armorial bearings he has on that seal?"

"Do you doubt it?"

"Very strongly, or rather I am certain that he knows nothing about it."

We left the table, and the prince was announced. He came in, and Madame
Sagredo lost no time in saying to him, "Prince, here is M. Casanova; he
pretends that you do not know your own armorial bearings." Hearing these
words, he came up to me, sneering, called me a coward, and gave me a
smack on the face which almost stunned me. I left the room very slowly,
not forgetting my hat and my cane, and went downstairs, while M.
D---- R---- was loudly ordering the servants to throw the madman out of
the window.

I left the palace and went to the esplanade in order to wait for him. The
moment I saw him, I ran to meet him, and I beat him so violently with my
cane that one blow alone ought to have killed him. He drew back, and
found himself brought to a stand between two walls, where, to avoid being
beaten to death, his only resource was to draw his sword, but the
cowardly scoundrel did not even think of his weapon, and I left him, on
the ground, covered with blood. The crowd formed a line for me to pass,
and I went to the coffee-house, where I drank a glass of lemonade,
without sugar to precipitate the bitter saliva which rage had brought up
from my stomach. In a few minutes, I found myself surrounded by all the
young officers of the garrison, who joined in the general opinion that I
ought to have killed him, and they at last annoyed me, for it was not my
fault if I had not done so, and I would certainly have taken his life if
he had drawn his sword.

I had been in the coffee-house for half an hour when the general's
adjutant came to tell me that his excellency ordered me to put myself
under arrest on board the bastarda, a galley on which the prisoners had
their legs in irons like galley slaves. The dose was rather too strong to
be swallowed, and I did not feel disposed to submit to it. "Very good,
adjutant," I replied, "it shall be done." He went away, and I left the
coffee-house a moment after him, but when I reached the end of the
street, instead of going towards the esplanade, I proceeded quickly
towards the sea. I walked along the beach for a quarter of an hour, and
finding a boat empty, but with a pair of oars, I got in her, and
unfastening her, I rowed as hard as I could towards a large caicco,
sailing against the wind with six oars. As soon as I had come up to her,
I went on board and asked the carabouchiri to sail before the wind and to
take me to a large wherry which could be seen at some distance, going
towards Vido Rock. I abandoned the row-boat, and, after paying the master
of the caicco generously, I got into the wherry, made a bargain with the
skipper who unfurled three sails, and in less than two hours we were
fifteen miles away from Corfu. The wind having died away, I made the men
row against the current, but towards midnight they told me that they
could not row any longer, they were worn out with fatigue. They advised
me to sleep until day-break, but I refused to do so, and for a trifle I
got them to put me on shore, without asking where I was, in order not to
raise their suspicions. It was enough for me to know that I was at a
distance of twenty miles from Corfu, and in a place where nobody could
imagine me to be. The moon was shining, and I saw a church with a house
adjoining, a long barn opened on both sides, a plain of about one hundred
yards confined by hills, and nothing more. I found some straw in the
barn, and laying myself down, I slept until day-break in spite of the
cold. It was the 1st of December, and although the climate is very mild
in Corfu I felt benumbed when I awoke, as I had no cloak over my thin
uniform.

The bells begin to toll, and I proceed towards the church. The
long-bearded papa, surprised at my sudden apparition, enquires whether I
am Romeo (a Greek); I tell him that I am Fragico (Italian), but he turns
his back upon me and goes into his house, the door of which he shuts
without condescending to listen to me.

I then turned towards the sea, and saw a boat leaving a tartan lying at
anchor within one hundred yards of the island; the boat had four oars and
landed her passengers. I come up to them and meet a good-looking Greek, a
woman and a young boy ten or twelve years old. Addressing myself to the
Greek, I ask him whether he has had a pleasant passage, and where he
comes from. He answers in Italian that he has sailed from Cephalonia with
his wife and his son, and that he is bound for Venice; he had landed to
hear mass at the Church of Our Lady of Casopo, in order to ascertain
whether his father-in-law was still alive, and whether he would pay the
amount he had promised him for the dowry of his wife.

"But how can you find it out?"

"The Papa Deldimopulo will tell me; he will communicate faithfully the
oracle of the Holy Virgin." I say nothing and follow him into the church;
he speaks to the priest, and gives him some money. The papa says the
mass, enters the sanctum sanctorum, comes out again in a quarter of an
hour, ascends the steps of the altar, turns towards his audience, and,
after meditating for a minute and stroking his long beard, he delivers
his oracle in a dozen words. The Greek of Cephalonia, who certainly could
not boast of being as wise as Ulysses, appears very well pleased, and
gives more money to the impostor. We leave the church, and I ask him
whether he feels satisfied with the oracle.

"Oh! quite satisfied. I know now that my father-in-law is alive, and that
he will pay me the dowry, if I consent to leave my child with him. I am
aware that it is his fancy and I will give him the boy."

"Does the papa know you?"

"No; he is not even acquainted with my name."

"Have you any fine goods on board your tartan?"

"Yes; come and breakfast with me; you can see all I have."

"Very willingly."

Delighted at hearing that oracles were not yet defunct, and satisfied
that they will endure as long as there are in this world simple-minded
men and deceitful, cunning priests, I follow the good man, who took me to
his tartan and treated me to an excellent breakfast. His cargo consisted
of cotton, linen, currants, oil, and excellent wines. He had also a stock
of night-caps, stockings, cloaks in the Eastern fashion, umbrellas, and
sea biscuits, of which I was very fond; in those days I had thirty teeth,
and it would have been difficult to find a finer set. Alas! I have but
two left now, the other twenty-eight are gone with other tools quite as
precious; but 'dum vita super est, bene est.' I bought a small stock of
everything he had except cotton, for which I had no use, and without
discussing his price I paid him the thirty-five or forty sequins he
demanded, and seeing my generosity he made me a present of six beautiful
botargoes.

I happened during our conversation to praise the wine of Xante, which he
called generoydes, and he told me that if I would accompany him to Venice
he would give me a bottle of that wine every day including the
quarantine. Always superstitious, I was on the point of accepting, and
that for the most foolish reason-namely, that there would be no
premeditation in that strange resolution, and it might be the impulse of
fate. Such was my nature in those days; alas; it is very different now.
They say that it is because wisdom comes with old age, but I cannot
reconcile myself to cherish the effect of a most unpleasant cause.

Just as I was going to accept his offer he proposes to sell me a very
fine gun for ten sequins, saying that in Corfu anyone would be glad of it
for twelve. The word Corfu upsets all my ideas on the spot! I fancy I
hear the voice of my genius telling me to go back to that city. I
purchase the gun for the ten sequins, and my honest Cephalonian, admiring
my fair dealing, gives me, over and above our bargain, a beautiful
Turkish pouch well filled with powder and shot. Carrying my gun, with a
good warm cloak over my uniform and with a large bag containing all my
purchases, I take leave of the worthy Greek, and am landed on the shore,
determined on obtaining a lodging from the cheating papa, by fair means
or foul. The good wine of my friend the Cephalonian had excited me just
enough to make me carry my determination into immediate execution. I had
in my pockets four or five hundred copper gazzette, which were very
heavy, but which I had procured from the Greek, foreseeing that I might
want them during my stay on the island.

I store my bag away in the barn and I proceed, gun in hand, towards the
house of the priest; the church was closed.

I must give my readers some idea of the state I was in at that moment. I
was quietly hopeless. The three or four hundred sequins I had with me did
not prevent me from thinking that I was not in very great security on the
island; I could not remain long, I would soon be found out, and, being
guilty of desertion, I should be treated accordingly. I did not know what
to do, and that is always an unpleasant predicament. It would be absurd
for me to return to Corfu of my own accord; my flight would then be
useless, and I should be thought a fool, for my return would be a proof
of cowardice or stupidity; yet I did not feel the courage to desert
altogether. The chief cause of my decision was not that I had a thousand
sequins in the hands of the faro banker, or my well-stocked wardrobe, or
the fear of not getting a living somewhere else, but the unpleasant
recollection that I should leave behind me a woman whom I loved to
adoration, and from whom I had not yet obtained any favour, not even that
of kissing her hand. In such distress of mind I could not do anything
else but abandon myself to chance, whatever the result might be, and the
most essential thing for the present was to secure a lodging and my daily
food.

I knock at the door of the priest's dwelling. He looks out of a window
and shuts it without listening to me, I knock again, I swear, I call out
loudly, all in vain, Giving way to my rage, I take aim at a poor sheep
grazing with several others at a short distance, and kill it. The
herdsman begins to scream, the papa shows himself at the window, calling
out, "Thieves! Murder!" and orders the alarm-bell to be rung. Three bells
are immediately set in motion, I foresee a general gathering: what is
going to happen? I do not know, but happen what will, I load my gun and
await coming events.

In less than eight or ten minutes, I see a crowd of peasants coming down
the hills, armed with guns, pitchforks, or cudgels: I withdraw inside of
the barn, but without the slightest fear, for I cannot suppose that,
seeing me alone, these men will murder me without listening to me.

The first ten or twelve peasants come forward, gun in hand and ready to
fire: I stop them by throwing down my gazzette, which they lose no time
in picking up from the ground, and I keep on throwing money down as the
men come forward, until I had no more left. The clowns were looking at
each other in great astonishment, not knowing what to make out of a
well-dressed young man, looking very peaceful, and throwing his money to
them with such generosity. I could not speak to them until the deafening
noise of the bells should cease. I quietly sit down on my large bag, and
keep still, but as soon as I can be heard I begin to address the men. The
priest, however, assisted by his beadle and by the herdsman, interrupts
me, and all the more easily that I was speaking Italian. My three
enemies, who talked all at once, were trying to excite the crowd against
me.

One of the peasants, an elderly and reasonable-looking man, comes up to
me and asks me in Italian why I have killed the sheep.

"To eat it, my good fellow, but not before I have paid for it."

"But his holiness, the papa, might choose to charge one sequin for it."

"Here is one sequin."

The priest takes the money and goes away: war is over. The peasant tells
me that he has served in the campaign of 1716, and that he was at the
defence of Corfu. I compliment him, and ask him to find me a lodging and
a man able to prepare my meals. He answers that he will procure me a
whole house, that he will be my cook himself, but I must go up the hill.
No matter! He calls two stout fellows, one takes my bag, the other
shoulders my sheep, and forward! As we are walking along, I tell him,--

"My good man, I would like to have in my service twenty-four fellows like
these under military discipline. I would give each man twenty gazzette a
day, and you would have forty as my lieutenant."

"I will," says the old soldier, "raise for you this very day a body-guard
of which you will be proud."

We reach a very convenient house, containing on the ground floor three
rooms and a stable, which I immediately turned into a guard-room.

My lieutenant went to get what I wanted, and particularly a needlewoman
to make me some shirts. In the course of the day I had furniture,
bedding, kitchen utensils, a good dinner, twenty-four well-equipped
soldiers, a super-annuated sempstress and several young girls to make my
shirts. After supper, I found my position highly pleasant, being
surrounded with some thirty persons who looked upon me as their
sovereign, although they could not make out what had brought me to their
island. The only thing which struck me as disagreeable was that the young
girls could not speak Italian, and I did not know Greek enough to enable
me to make love to them.

The next morning my lieutenant had the guard relieved, and I could not
help bursting into a merry laugh. They were like a flock of sheep: all
fine men, well-made and strong; but without uniform and without
discipline the finest band is but a herd. However, they quickly learned
how to present arms and to obey the orders of their officer. I caused
three sentinels to be placed, one before the guardroom, one at my door,
and the third where he could have a good view of the sea. This sentinel
was to give me warning of the approach of any armed boat or vessel. For
the first two or three days I considered all this as mere amusement, but,
thinking that I might really want the men to repel force by force, I had
some idea of making my army take an oath of allegiance. I did not do so,
however, although my lieutenant assured me that I had only to express my
wishes, for my generosity had captivated the love of all the islanders.

My sempstress, who had procured some young needlewomen to sew my shirts,
had expected that I would fall in love with one and not with all, but my
amorous zeal overstepped her hopes, and all the pretty ones had their
turn; they were all well satisfied with me, and the sempstress was
rewarded for her good offices. I was leading a delightful life, for my
table was supplied with excellent dishes, juicy mutton, and snipe so
delicious that I have never tasted their like except in St. Petersburg. I
drank scopolo wine or the best muscatel of the Archipelago. My lieutenant
was my only table companion. I never took a walk without him and two of
my body-guard, in order to defend myself against the attacks of a few
young men who had a spite against me because they fancied, not without
some reason, that my needlewomen, their mistresses, had left them on my
account. I often thought while I was rambling about the island, that
without money I should have been unhappy, and that I was indebted to my
gold for all the happiness I was enjoying; but it was right to suppose at
the same time that, if I had not felt my purse pretty heavy, I would not
have been likely to leave Corfu.

I had thus been playing the petty king with success for a week or ten
days, when, towards ten o'clock at night I heard the sentinel's
challenge. My lieutenant went out, and returned announcing that an
honest-looking man, who spoke Italian, wished to see me on important
business. I had him brought in, and, in the presence of my lieutenant, he
told me in Italian:

"Next Sunday, the Papa Deldimopulo will fulminate against you the
'cataramonachia'. If you do not prevent him, a slow fever will send you
into the next world in six weeks."

"I have never heard of such a drug."

"It is not a drug. It is a curse pronounced by a priest with the Host in
his hands, and it is sure to be fulfilled."

"What reason can that priest have to murder me?"

"You disturb the peace and discipline of his parish. You have seduced
several young girls, and now their lovers refuse to marry them."

I made him drink, and thanking him heartily, wished him good night. His
warning struck me as deserving my attention, for, if I had no fear of the
'cataramonachia', in which I had not the slightest faith, I feared
certain poisons which might be by far more efficient. I passed a very
quiet night, but at day-break I got up, and without saying anything to my
lieutenant, I went straight to the church where I found the priest, and
addressed him in the following words, uttered in a tone likely to enforce
conviction:

"On the first symptom of fever, I will shoot you like a dog. Throw over
me a curse which will kill me instantly, or make your will. Farewell!"

Having thus warned him, I returned to my royal palace. Early on the
following Monday, the papa called on me. I had a slight headache; he
enquired after my health, and when I told him that my head felt rather
heavy, he made me laugh by the air of anxiety with which he assured me
that it could be caused by nothing else than the heavy atmosphere of the
island of Casopo.

Three days after his visit, the advanced sentinel gave the war-cry. The
lieutenant went out to reconnoitre, and after a short absence he gave me
notice that the long boat of an armed vessel had just landed an officer.
Danger was at hand.

I go out myself, I call my men to arms, and, advancing a few steps, I see
an officer, accompanied by a guide, who was walking towards my dwelling.
As he was alone, I had nothing to fear. I return to my room, giving
orders to my lieutenant to receive him with all military honours and to
introduce him. Then, girding my sword, I wait for my visitor.

In a few minutes, Adjutant Minolto, the same who had brought me the order
to put myself under arrest, makes his appearance.

"You are alone," I say to him, "and therefore you come as a friend. Let
us embrace."

"I must come as a friend, for, as an enemy, I should not have enough men.
But what I see seems a dream."

"Take a seat, and dine with me. I will treat you splendidly."

"Most willingly, and after dinner we will leave the island together."

"You may go alone, if you like; but I will not leave this place until I
have the certainty, not only that I shall not be sent to the 'bastarda',
but also that I shall have every satisfaction from the knave whom the
general ought to send to the galleys."

"Be reasonable, and come with me of your own accord. My orders are to
take you by force, but as I have not enough men to do so, I shall make my
report, and the general will, of course, send a force sufficient to
arrest you."

"Never; I will not be taken alive."

"You must be mad; believe me, you are in the wrong. You have disobeyed
the order I brought you to go to the 'bastarda; in that you have acted
wrongly, and in that alone, for in every other respect you were perfectly
right, the general himself says so."

"Then I ought to have put myself under arrest?"

"Certainly; obedience is necessary in our profession."

"Would you have obeyed, if you had been in my place?"

"I cannot and will not tell you what I would have done, but I know that
if I had disobeyed orders I should have been guilty of a crime:"

"But if I surrendered now I should be treated like a criminal, and much
more severely than if I had obeyed that unjust order."

"I think not. Come with me, and you will know everything."

"What! Go without knowing what fate may be in store for me? Do not expect
it. Let us have dinner. If I am guilty of such a dreadful crime that
violence must be used against me, I will surrender only to irresistible
force. I cannot be worse off, but there may be blood spilled."

"You are mistaken, such conduct would only make you more guilty. But I
say like you, let us have dinner. A good meal will very likely render you
more disposed to listen to reason."

Our dinner was nearly over, when we heard some noise outside. The
lieutenant came in, and informed me that the peasants were gathering in
the neighbourhood of my house to defend me, because a rumour had spread
through the island that the felucca had been sent with orders to arrest
me and take me to Corfu. I told him to undeceive the good fellows, and to
send them away, but to give them first a barrel of wine.

The peasants went away satisfied, but, to shew their devotion to me, they
all fired their guns.

"It is all very amusing," said the adjutant, "but it will turn out very
serious if you let me go away alone, for my duty compels me to give an
exact account of all I have witnessed."

"I will follow you, if you will give me your word of honour to land me
free in Corfu."

"I have orders to deliver your person to M. Foscari, on board the
bastarda."

"Well, you shall not execute your orders this time."

"If you do not obey the commands of the general, his honour will compel
him to use violence against you, and of course he can do it. But tell me,
what would you do if the general should leave you in this island for the
sake of the joke? There is no fear of that, however, and, after the
report which I must give, the general will certainly make up his mind to
stop the affair without shedding blood."

"Without a fight it will be difficult to arrest me, for with five hundred
peasants in such a place as this I would not be afraid of three thousand
men."

"One man will prove enough; you will be treated as a leader of rebels.
All these peasants may be devoted to you, but they cannot protect you
against one man who will shoot you for the sake of earning a few pieces
of gold. I can tell you more than that: amongst all those men who
surround you there is not one who would not murder you for twenty
sequins. Believe me, go with me. Come to enjoy the triumph which is
awaiting you in Corfu. You will be courted and applauded. You will
narrate yourself all your mad frolics, people will laugh, and at the same
time will admire you for having listened to reason the moment I came
here. Everybody feels esteem for you, and M. D---- R---- thinks a great
deal of you. He praises very highly the command you have shewn over your
passion in refraining from thrusting your sword through that insolent
fool, in order not to forget the respect you owed to his house. The
general himself must esteem you, for he cannot forget what you told him
of that knave."

"What has become of him?"

"Four days ago Major Sardina's frigate arrived with dispatches, in which
the general must have found all the proof of the imposture, for he has
caused the false duke or prince to disappear very suddenly. Nobody knows
where he has been sent to, and nobody ventures to mention the fellow
before the general, for he made the most egregious blunder respecting
him."

"But was the man received in society after the thrashing I gave him?"

"God forbid! Do you not recollect that he wore a sword? From that moment
no one would receive him. His arm was broken and his jaw shattered to
pieces.

"But in spite of the state he was in, in spite of what he must have
suffered, his excellency had him removed a week after you had treated him
so severely. But your flight is what everyone has been wondering over. It
was thought for three days that M. D---- R---- had concealed you in his
house, and he was openly blamed for doing so. He had to declare loudly at
the general's table that he was in the most complete ignorance of your
whereabouts. His excellency even expressed his anxiety about your escape,
and it was only yesterday that your place of refuge was made known by a
letter addressed by the priest of this island to the Proto-Papa Bulgari,
in which he complained that an Italian officer had invaded the island of
Casopo a week before, and had committed unheard-of violence. He accused
you of seducing all the girls, and of threatening to shoot him if he
dared to pronounce 'cataramonachia' against you. This letter, which was
read publicly at the evening reception, made the general laugh, but he
ordered me to arrest you all the same."

"Madame Sagredo is the cause of it all."

"True, but she is well punished for it. You ought to call upon her with
me to-morrow."

"To-morrow? Are you then certain that I shall not be placed under
arrest?"

"Yes, for I know that the general is a man of honour."

"I am of the same opinion. Well, let us go on board your felucca. We will
embark together after midnight."

"Why not now?"

"Because I will not run the risk of spending the night on board M.
Foscari's bastarda. I want to reach Corfu by daylight, so as to make your
victory more brilliant."

"But what shall we do for the next eight hours?"

"We will pay a visit to some beauties of a species unknown in Corfu, and
have a good supper."

I ordered my lieutenant to send plenty to eat and to drink to the men on
board the felucca, to prepare a splendid supper, and to spare nothing, as
I should leave the island at midnight. I made him a present of all my
provisions, except such as I wanted to take with me; these I sent on
board. My janissaries, to whom I gave a week's pay, insisted upon
escorting me, fully equipped, as far as the boat, which made the adjutant
laugh all the way.

We reached Corfu by eight o'clock in the morning, and we went alongside
the 'bastarda. The adjutant consigned me to M. Foscari, assuring me that
he would immediately give notice of my arrival to M. D---- R-----, send my
luggage to his house, and report the success of his expedition to the
general.

M. Foscari, the commander of the bastarda, treated me very badly. If he
had been blessed with any delicacy of feeling, he would not have been in
such a hurry to have me put in irons. He might have talked to me, and
have thus delayed for a quarter of an hour that operation which greatly
vexed me. But, without uttering a single word, he sent me to the 'capo di
scalo' who made me sit down, and told me to put my foot forward to
receive the irons, which, however, do not dishonour anyone in that
country, not even the galley slaves, for they are better treated than
soldiers.

My right leg was already in irons, and the left one was in the hands of
the man for the completion of that unpleasant ceremony, when the adjutant
of his excellency came to tell the executioner to set me at liberty and
to return me my sword. I wanted to present my compliments to the noble M.
Foscari, but the adjutant, rather ashamed, assured me that his excellency
did not expect me to do so. The first thing I did was to pay my respects
to the general, without saying one word to him, but he told me with a
serious countenance to be more prudent for the future, and to learn that
a soldier's first duty was to obey, and above all to be modest and
discreet. I understood perfectly the meaning of the two last words, and
acted accordingly.

When I made my appearance at M. D---- R-----'s, I could see pleasure on
everybody's face. Those moments have always been so dear to me that I
have never forgotten them, they have afforded me consolation in the time
of adversity. If you would relish pleasure you must endure pain, and
delights are in proportion to the privations we have suffered. M.
D---- R---- was so glad to see me that he came up to me and warmly
embraced me. He presented me with a beautiful ring which he took from his
own finger, and told me that I had acted quite rightly in not letting
anyone, and particularly himself, know where I had taken refuge.

"You can't think," he added, frankly, "how interested Madame F---- was in
your fate. She would be really delighted if you called on her
immediately."

How delightful to receive such advice from his own lips! But the word
"immediately" annoyed me, because, having passed the night on board the
felucca, I was afraid that the disorder of my toilet might injure me in
her eyes. Yet I could neither refuse M. D---- R-----, nor tell him the
reason of my refusal, and I bethought myself that I could make a merit of
it in the eyes of Madame F---- I therefore went at once to her house; the
goddess was not yet visible, but her attendant told me to come in,
assuring me that her mistress's bell would soon be heard, and that she
would be very sorry if I did not wait to see her. I spent half an hour
with that young and indiscreet person, who was a very charming girl, and
learned from her many things which caused me great pleasure, and
particularly all that had been said respecting my escape. I found that
throughout the affair my conduct had met with general approbation.

[Illustration: 1c14b.jpg]

As soon as Madame F---- had seen her maid, she desired me to be shewn in.
The curtains were drawn aside, and I thought I saw Aurora surrounded with
the roses and the pearls of morning. I told her that, if it had not been
for the order I received from M. D---- R---- I would not have presumed to
present myself before her in my travelling costume; and in the most
friendly tone she answered that M. D---- R-----, knowing all the interest
she felt in me, had been quite right to tell me to come, and she assured
me that M. D---- R----- had the greatest esteem for me.

"I do not know, madam, how I have deserved such great happiness, for all
I dared aim at was toleration."

"We all admired the control you kept over your feelings when you
refrained from killing that insolent madman on the spot; he would have
been thrown out of the window if he had not beat a hurried retreat."

"I should certainly have killed him, madam, if you had not been present."

"A very pretty compliment, but I can hardly believe that you thought of
me in such a moment."

I did not answer, but cast my eyes down, and gave a deep sigh. She
observed my new ring, and in order to change the subject of conversation
she praised M. D---- R----- very highly, as soon as I had told her how he
had offered it to me. She desired me to give her an account of my life on
the island, and I did so, but allowed my pretty needlewomen to remain
under a veil, for I had already learnt that in this world the truth must
often remain untold.

All my adventures amused her much, and she greatly admired my conduct.

"Would you have the courage," she said, "to repeat all you have just told
me, and exactly in the same terms, before the proveditore-generale?"

"Most certainly, madam, provided he asked me himself."

"Well, then, prepare to redeem your promise. I want our excellent general
to love you and to become your warmest protector, so as to shield you
against every injustice and to promote your advancement. Leave it all to
me."

Her reception fairly overwhelmed me with happiness, and on leaving her
house I went to Major Maroli to find out the state of my finances. I was
glad to hear that after my escape he had no longer considered me a
partner in the faro bank. I took four hundred sequins from the cashier,
reserving the right to become again a partner, should circumstances prove
at any time favourable.

In the evening I made a careful toilet, and called for the Adjutant
Minolto in order to pay with him a visit to Madame Sagredo, the general's
favourite. With the exception of Madame F---- she was the greatest beauty
of Corfu. My visit surprised her, because, as she had been the cause of
all that had happened, she was very far from expecting it. She imagined
that I had a spite against her. I undeceived her, speaking to her very
candidly, and she treated me most kindly, inviting me to come now and
then to spend the evening at her house.

But I neither accepted nor refused her amiable invitation, knowing that
Madame F---- disliked her; and how could I be a frequent guest at her
house with such a knowledge! Besides, Madame Sagredo was very fond of
gambling, and, to please her, it was necessary either to lose or make her
win, but to accept such conditions one must be in love with the lady or
wish to make her conquest, and I had not the slightest idea of either.
The Adjutant Minolto never played, but he had captivated the lady's good
graces by his services in the character of Mercury.

When I returned to the palace I found Madame F---- alone, M.
D---- R---- being engaged with his correspondence. She asked me to sit
near her, and to tell her all my adventures in Constantinople. I did so,
and I had no occasion to repent it. My meeting with Yusuf's wife pleased
her extremely, but the bathing scene by moonlight made her blush with
excitement. I veiled as much as I could the too brilliant colours of my
picture, but, if she did not find me clear, she would oblige me to be
more explicit, and if I made myself better understood by giving to my
recital a touch of voluptuousness which I borrowed from her looks more
than from my recollection, she would scold me and tell me that I might
have disguised a little more. I felt that the way she was talking would
give her a liking for me, and I was satisfied that the man who can give
birth to amorous desires is easily called upon to gratify them it was the
reward I was ardently longing for, and I dared to hope it would be mine,
although I could see it only looming in the distance.

It happened that, on that day, M. D---- R---- had invited a large company
to supper. I had, as a matter of course, to engross all conversation, and
to give the fullest particulars of all that had taken place from the
moment I received the order to place myself under arrest up to the time
of my release from the 'bastarda'. M. Foscari was seated next to me, and
the last part of my narrative was not, I suppose, particularly agreeable
to him.

The account I gave of my adventures pleased everybody, and it was decided
that the proveditore-generale must have the pleasure of hearing my tale
from my own lips. I mentioned that hay was very plentiful in Casopo, and
as that article was very scarce in Corfu, M. D---- R---- told me that I
ought to seize the opportunity of making myself agreeable to the general
by informing him of that circumstance without delay. I followed his
advice the very next day, and was very well received, for his excellency
immediately ordered a squad of men to go to the island and bring large
quantities of hay to Corfu.

A few days later the Adjutant Minolto came to me in the coffee-house, and
told me that the general wished to see me: this time I promptly obeyed
his commands.




CHAPTER XV

     Progress of My Amour--My Journey to Otranto--I Enter the
     Service of Madame F.--A Fortunate Excoriation

The room I entered was full of people. His excellency, seeing me, smiled
and drew upon me the attention of all his guests by saying aloud, "Here
comes the young man who is a good judge of princes."

"My lord, I have become a judge of nobility by frequenting the society of
men like you."

"The ladies are curious to know all you have done from the time of your
escape from Corfu up to your return."

"Then you sentence me, monsignor, to make a public confession?"

"Exactly; but, as it is to be a confession, be careful not to omit the
most insignificant circumstance, and suppose that I am not in the room."

"On the contrary, I wish to receive absolution only from your excellency.
But my history will be a long one."

"If such is the case, your confessor gives you permission to be seated."

I gave all the particulars of my adventures, with the exception of my
dalliance with the nymphs of the island.

"Your story is a very instructive one," observed the general.

"Yes, my lord, for the adventures shew that a young man is never so near
his utter ruin than when, excited by some great passion, he finds himself
able to minister to it, thanks to the gold in his purse."

I was preparing to take my leave, when the majordomo came to inform me
that his excellency desired me to remain to supper. I had therefore the
honour of a seat at his table, but not the pleasure of eating, for I was
obliged to answer the questions addressed to me from all quarters, and I
could not contrive to swallow a single mouthful. I was seated next to the
Proto-Papa Bulgari, and I entreated his pardon for having ridiculed
Deldimopulo's oracle. "It is nothing else but regular cheating," he said,
"but it is very difficult to put a stop to it; it is an old custom."

A short time afterwards, Madame F---- whispered a few words to the
general, who turned to me and said that he would be glad to hear me
relate what had occurred to me in Constantinople with the wife of the
Turk Yusuf, and at another friend's house, where I had seen bathing by
moonlight. I was rather surprised at such an invitation, and told him
that such frolics were not worth listening to, and the general not
pressing me no more was said about it. But I was astonished at Madame
F----'s indiscretion; she had no business to make my confidences public.
I wanted her to be jealous of her own dignity, which I loved even more
than her person.

Two or three days later, she said to me,

"Why did you refuse to tell your adventures in Constantinople before the
general?"

"Because I do not wish everybody to know that you allow me to tell you
such things. What I may dare, madam, to say to you when we are alone, I
would certainly not say to you in public."

"And why not? It seems to me, on the contrary, that if you are silent in
public out of respect for me, you ought to be all the more silent when we
are alone."

"I wanted to amuse you, and have exposed myself to the danger of
displeasing you, but I can assure you, madam, that I will not run such a
risk again."

"I have no wish to pry into your intentions, but it strikes me that if
your wish was to please me, you ought not to have run the risk of
obtaining the opposite result. We take supper with the general this
evening, and M. D---- R----- has been asked to bring you. I feel certain
that the general will ask you again for your adventures in
Constantinople, and this time you cannot refuse him."

M. D---- R---- came in and we went to the general's. I thought as we were
driving along that, although Madame F---- seemed to have intended to
humiliate me, I ought to accept it all as a favour of fortune, because,
by compelling me to explain my refusal to the general; Madame F---- had,
at the same time, compelled me to a declaration of my feelings, which was
not without importance.

The 'proveditore-generale' gave me a friendly welcome, and kindly handed
me a letter which had come with the official dispatches from
Constantinople. I bowed my thanks, and put the letter in my pocket: but
he told me that he was himself a great lover of news, and that I could
read my letter. I opened it; it was from Yusuf, who announced the death
of Count de Bonneval. Hearing the name of the worthy Yusuf, the general
asked me to tell him my adventure with his wife. I could not now refuse,
and I began a story which amused and interested the general and his
friends for an hour or so, but which was from beginning to end the work
of my imagination.

Thus I continued to respect the privacy of Yusuf, to avoid implicating
the good fame of Madame F----, and to shew myself in a light which was
tolerably advantageous to me. My story, which was full of sentiment, did
me a great deal of honour, and I felt very happy when I saw from the
expression of Madame F----'s face that she was pleased with me, although
somewhat surprised.

When we found ourselves again in her house she told me, in the presence
of M. D---- R-----, that the story I had related to the general was
certainly very pretty, although purely imaginary, that she was not angry
with me, because I had amused her, but that she could not help remarking
my obstinacy in refusing compliance with her wishes. Then, turning to M.
D---- R-----, she said,

"M. Casanova pretends that if he had given an account of his meeting with
Yusuf's wife without changing anything everybody would think that I
allowed him to entertain me with indecent stories. I want you to give
your opinion about it. Will you," she added, speaking to me, "be so good
as to relate immediately the adventure in the same words which you have
used when you told me of it?"

"Yes, madam, if you wish me to do so."

Stung to the quick by an indiscretion which, as I did not yet know women
thoroughly, seemed to me without example, I cast all fears of displeasing
to the winds, related the adventure with all the warmth of an impassioned
poet, and without disguising or attenuating in the least the desires
which the charms of the Greek beauty had inspired me with.

"Do you think," said M. D---- R---- to Madame F-----, "that he ought to
have related that adventure before all our friends as he has just related
it to us?"

"If it be wrong for him to tell it in public, it is also wrong to tell it
to me in private."

"You are the only judge of that: yes, if he has displeased you; no, if he
has amused you. As for my own opinion, here it is: He has just now amused
me very much, but he would have greatly displeased me if he had related
the same adventure in public."

"Then," exclaimed Madame F----, "I must request you never to tell me in
private anything that you cannot repeat in public."

"I promise, madam, to act always according to your wishes."

"It being understood," added M. D---- R-----, smiling, "that madam
reserves all rights of repealing that order whenever she may think fit."

I was vexed, but I contrived not to show it. A few minutes more, and we
took leave of Madame F----.

I was beginning to understand that charming woman, and to dread the
ordeal to which she would subject me. But love was stronger than fear,
and, fortified with hope, I had the courage to endure the thorns, so as
to gather the rose at the end of my sufferings. I was particularly
pleased to find that M. D---- R---- was not jealous of me, even when she
seemed to dare him to it. This was a point of the greatest importance.

A few days afterwards, as I was entertaining her on various subjects, she
remarked how unfortunate it had been for me to enter the lazzaretto at
Ancona without any money.

"In spite of my distress," I said, "I fell in love with a young and
beautiful Greek slave, who very nearly contrived to make me break through
all the sanitary laws."

"How so?"

"You are alone, madam, and I have not forgotten your orders."

"Is it a very improper story?"

"No: yet I would not relate it to you in public."

"Well," she said, laughing, "I repeal my order, as M. D---- R---- said I
would. Tell me all about it."

I told my story, and, seeing that she was pensive, I exaggerated the
misery I had felt at not being able to complete my conquest.

"What do you mean by your misery? I think that the poor girl was more to
be pitied than you. You have never seen her since?"

"I beg your pardon, madam; I met her again, but I dare not tell you when
or how."

"Now you must go on; it is all nonsense for you to stop. Tell me all; I
expect you have been guilty of some black deed."

"Very far from it, madam, for it was a very sweet, although incomplete,
enjoyment."

"Go on! But do not call things exactly by their names. It is not
necessary to go into details."

Emboldened by the renewal of her order, I told her, without looking her
in the face, of my meeting with the Greek slave in the presence of
Bellino, and of the act which was cut short by the appearance of her
master. When I had finished my story, Madame F---- remained silent, and I
turned the conversation into a different channel, for though I felt
myself on an excellent footing with her, I knew likewise that I had to
proceed with great prudence. She was too young to have lowered herself
before, and she would certainly look upon a connection with me as a
lowering of her dignity.

Fortune which had always smiled upon me in the most hopeless cases, did
not intend to ill-treat me on this occasion, and procured me, on that
very same day, a favour of a very peculiar nature. My charming ladylove
having pricked her finger rather severely, screamed loudly, and stretched
her hand towards me, entreating me to suck the blood flowing from the
wound. You may judge, dear reader, whether I was long in seizing that
beautiful hand, and if you are, or if you have ever been in love, you
will easily guess the manner in which I performed my delightful work.
What is a kiss? Is it not an ardent desire to inhale a portion of the
being we love? Was not the blood I was sucking from that charming wound a
portion of the woman I worshipped? When I had completed my work, she
thanked me affectionately, and told me to spit out the blood I had
sucked.

"It is here," I said, placing my hand on my heart, "and God alone knows
what happiness it has given me."

"You have drunk my blood with happiness! Are you then a cannibal?"

"I believe not, madam; but it would have been sacrilege in my eyes if I
had suffered one single drop of your blood to be lost."

One evening, there was an unusually large attendance at M. D---- R-----'s
assembly, and we were talking of the carnival which was near at hand.
Everybody was regretting the lack of actors, and the impossibility of
enjoying the pleasures of the theatre. I immediately offered to procure a
good company at my expense, if the boxes were at once subscribed for, and
the monopoly of the faro bank granted to me. No time was to be lost, for
the carnival was approaching, and I had to go to Otranto to engage a
troop. My proposal was accepted with great joy, and the
proveditore-generale placed a felucca at my disposal. The boxes were all
taken in three days, and a Jew took the pit, two nights a week excepted,
which I reserved for my own profit.

The carnival being very long that year, I had every chance of success. It
is said generally that the profession of theatrical manager is difficult,
but, if that is the case, I have not found it so by experience, and am
bound to affirm the contrary.

I left Corfu in the evening, and having a good breeze in my favour, I
reached Otranto by day-break the following morning, without the oarsmen
having had to row a stroke. The distance from Corfu to Otranto is only
about fifteen leagues.

I had no idea of landing, owing to the quarantine which is always
enforced for any ship or boat coming to Italy from the east. I only went
to the parlour of the lazaretto, where, placed behind a grating, you can
speak to any person who calls, and who must stand behind another grating
placed opposite, at a distance of six feet.

As soon as I announced that I had come for the purpose of engaging a
troupe of actors to perform in Corfu, the managers of the two companies
then in Otranto came to the parlour to speak to me. I told them at once
that I wished to see all the performers, one company at a time.

The two rival managers gave me then a very comic scene, each manager
wanting the other to bring his troupe first. The harbour-master told me
that the only way to settle the matter was to say myself which of the two
companies I would see first: one was from Naples, the other from Sicily.
Not knowing either I gave the preference to the first. Don Fastidio, the
manager, was very vexed, while Battipaglia, the director of the second,
was delighted because he hoped that, after seeing the Neapolitan troupe,
I would engage his own.

An hour afterwards, Fastidio returned with all his performers, and my
surprise may be imagined when amongst them I recognized Petronio and his
sister Marina, who, the moment she saw me, screamed for joy, jumped over
the grating, and threw herself in my arms. A terrible hubbub followed,
and high words passed between Fastidio and the harbour-master. Marina
being in the service of Fastidio, the captain compelled him to confine
her to the lazaretto, where she would have to perform quarantine at his
expense. The poor girl cried bitterly, but I could not remedy her
imprudence.

I put a stop to the quarrel by telling Fastidio to shew me all his
people, one after the other. Petronio belonged to his company, and
performed the lovers. He told me that he had a letter for me from
Therese. I was also glad to see a Venetian of my acquaintance who played
the pantaloon in the pantomime, three tolerably pretty actresses, a
pulcinella, and a scaramouch. Altogether, the troupe was a decent one.

I told Fastidio to name the lowest salary he wanted for all his company,
assuring him that I would give the preference to his rival, if he should
ask me too much.

"Sir," he answered, "we are twenty, and shall require six rooms with ten
beds, one sitting-room for all of us, and thirty Neapolitan ducats a day,
all travelling expenses paid. Here is my stock of plays, and we will
perform those that you may choose."

Thinking of poor Marina who would have to remain in the lazaretto before
she could reappear on the stage at Otranto, I told Fastidio to get the
contract ready, as I wanted to go away immediately.

I had scarcely pronounced these words than war broke out again between
the manager-elect and his unfortunate competitor. Battipaglia, in his
rage, called Marina a harlot, and said that she had arranged beforehand
with Fastidio to violate the rules of the lazaretto in order to compel me
to choose their troupe. Petronio, taking his sister's part, joined
Fastidio, and the unlucky Battipaglia was dragged outside and treated to
a generous dose of blows and fisticuffs, which was not exactly the thing
to console him for a lost engagement.

Soon afterwards, Petronio brought me Therese's letter. She was ruining
the duke, getting rich accordingly, and waiting for me in Naples.

Everything being ready towards evening, I left Otranto with twenty
actors, and six large trunks containing their complete wardrobes. A light
breeze which was blowing from the south might have carried us to Corfu in
ten hours, but when we had sailed about one hour my cayabouchiri informed
me that he could see by the moonlight a ship which might prove to be a
corsair, and get hold of us. I was unwilling to risk anything, so I
ordered them to lower the sails and return to Otranto. At day-break we
sailed again with a good westerly wind, which would also have taken us to
Corfu; but after we had gone two or three hours, the captain pointed out
to me a brigantine, evidently a pirate, for she was shaping her course so
as to get to windward of us. I told him to change the course, and to go
by starboard, to see if the brigantine would follow us, but she
immediately imitated our manoeuvre. I could not go back to Otranto, and I
had no wish to go to Africa, so I ordered the men to shape our course, so
as to land on the coast of Calabria, by hard rowing and at the nearest
point. The sailors, who were frightened to death, communicated their
fears to my comedians, and soon I heard nothing but weeping and sobbing.
Every one of them was calling earnestly upon some saint, but not one
single prayer to God did I hear. The bewailings of scaramouch, the dull
and spiritless despair of Fastidio, offered a picture which would have
made me laugh heartily if the danger had been imaginary and not real.
Marina alone was cheerful and happy, because she did not realize the
danger we were running, and she laughed at the terror of the crew and of
her companions.

A strong breeze sprang up towards evening, so I ordered them to clap on
all sail and scud before the wind, even if it should get stronger. In
order to escape the pirate, I had made up my mind to cross the gulf. We
took the wind through the night, and in the morning we were eighty miles
from Corfu, which I determined to reach by rowing. We were in the middle
of the gulf, and the sailors were worn out with fatigue, but I had no
longer any fear. A gale began to blow from the north, and in less than an
hour it was blowing so hard that we were compelled to sail close to the
wind in a fearful manner. The felucca looked every moment as if it must
capsize. Every one looked terrified but kept complete silence, for I had
enjoined it on penalty of death. In spite of our dangerous position, I
could not help laughing when I heard the sobs of the cowardly scaramouch.
The helmsman was a man of great nerve, and the gale being steady I felt
we would reach Corfu without mishap. At day-break we sighted the town,
and at nine in the morning we landed at Mandrachia. Everybody was
surprised to see us arrive that way.

As soon as my company was landed, the young officers naturally came to
inspect the actresses, but they did not find them very desirable, with
the exception of Marina, who received uncomplainingly the news that I
could not renew my acquaintance with her. I felt certain that she would
not lack admirers. But my actresses, who had appeared ugly at the
landing, produced a very different effect on the stage, and particularly
the pantaloon's wife. M. Duodo, commander of a man-of-war, called upon
her, and, finding master pantaloon intolerant on the subject of his
better-half, gave him a few blows with his cane. Fastidio informed me the
next day that the pantaloon and his wife refused to perform any more, but
I made them alter their mind by giving them a benefit night.

The pantaloon's wife was much applauded, but she felt insulted because,
in the midst of the applause, the pit called out, "Bravo, Duodo!" She
presented herself to the general in his own box, in which I was
generally, and complained of the manner in which she was treated. The
general promised her, in my name, another benefit night for the close of
the carnival, and I was of course compelled to ratify his promise. The
fact is, that, to satisfy the greedy actors, I abandoned to my comedians,
one by one, the seventeen nights I had reserved for myself. The benefit I
gave to Marina was at the special request of Madame F----, who had taken
her into great favour since she had had the honour of breakfasting alone
with M. D---- R---- in a villa outside of the city.

My generosity cost me four hundred sequins, but the faro bank brought me
a thousand and more, although I never held the cards, my management of
the theatre taking up all my time. My manner with the actresses gained me
great kindness; it was clearly seen that I carried on no intrigue with
any of them, although I had every facility for doing so. Madame
F---- complimented me, saying that she had not entertained such a good
opinion of my discretion. I was too busy through the carnival to think of
love, even of the passion which filled my heart. It was only at the
beginning of Lent, and after the departure of the comedians, that I could
give rein to my feelings.

One morning Madame F---- sent, a messenger who, summoned me to her
presence. It was eleven o'clock; I immediately went to her, and enquired
what I could do for her service.

"I wanted to see you," she said, "to return the two hundred sequins which
you lent me so nobly. Here they are; be good enough to give me back my
note of hand."

"Your note of hand, madam, is no longer in my possession. I have
deposited it in a sealed envelope with the notary who, according to this
receipt of his, can return it only to you."

"Why did you not keep it yourself?"

"Because I was afraid of losing it, or of having it stolen. And in the
event of my death I did not want such a document to fall into any other
hands but yours."

"A great proof of your extreme delicacy, certainly, but I think you ought
to have reserved the right of taking it out of the notary's custody
yourself."

"I did not forsee the possibility of calling for it myself."

"Yet it was a very likely thing. Then I can send word to the notary to
transmit it to me?"

"Certainly, madam; you alone can claim it."

She sent to the notary, who brought the himself.

She tore the envelope open, and found only a piece of paper besmeared
with ink, quite illegible, except her own name, which had not been
touched.

"You have acted," she said, "most nobly; but you must agree with me that
I cannot be certain that this piece of paper is really my note of hand,
although I see my name on it."

"True, madam; and if you are not certain of it, I confess myself in the
wrong."

"I must be certain of it, and I am so; but you must grant that I could
not swear to it."

"Granted, madam."

During the following days it struck me that her manner towards me was
singularly altered. She never received me in her dishabille, and I had to
wait with great patience until her maid had entirely dressed her before
being admitted into her presence.

If I related any story, any adventure, she pretended not to understand,
and affected not to see the point of an anecdote or a jest; very often
she would purposely not look at me, and then I was sure to relate badly.
If M. D---- R---- laughed at something I had just said, she would ask what
he was laughing for, and when he had told her, she would say it was
insipid or dull. If one of her bracelets became unfastened, I offered to
fasten it again, but either she would not give me so much trouble, or I
did not understand the fastening, and the maid was called to do it. I
could not help shewing my vexation, but she did not seem to take the
slightest notice of it. If M. D---- R---- excited me to say something
amusing or witty, and I did not speak immediately, she would say that my
budget was empty, laughing, and adding that the wit of poor M. Casanova
was worn out. Full of rage, I would plead guilty by my silence to her
taunting accusation, but I was thoroughly miserable, for I did not see
any cause for that extraordinary change in her feelings, being conscious
that I had not given her any motive for it. I wanted to shew her openly
my indifference and contempt, but whenever an opportunity offered, my
courage would forsake me, and I would let it escape.

One evening M. D---- R---- asking me whether I had often been in love, I
answered,

"Three times, my lord."

"And always happily, of course."

"Always unhappily. The first time, perhaps, because, being an
ecclesiastic, I durst not speak openly of my love. The second, because a
cruel, unexpected event compelled me to leave the woman I loved at the
very moment in which my happiness would have been complete. The third
time, because the feeling of pity, with which I inspired the beloved
object, induced her to cure me of my passion, instead of crowning my
felicity."

"But what specific remedies did she use to effect your cure?"

"She has ceased to be kind."

"I understand she has treated you cruelly, and you call that pity, do
you? You are mistaken."

"Certainly," said Madame F----, "a woman may pity the man she loves, but
she would not think of ill-treating him to cure him of his passion. That
woman has never felt any love for you."

"I cannot, I will not believe it, madam."

"But are you cured?"

"Oh! thoroughly; for when I happen to think of her, I feel nothing but
indifference and coldness. But my recovery was long."

"Your convalescence lasted, I suppose, until you fell in love with
another."

"With another, madam? I thought I had just told you that the third time I
loved was the last."

A few days after that conversation, M. D---- R---- told me that Madame
F---- was not well, that he could not keep her company, and that I ought
to go to her, as he was sure she would be glad to see me. I obeyed, and
told Madame F---- what M. D---- R---- had said. She was lying on a sofa.
Without looking at me, she told me she was feverish, and would not ask me
to remain with her, because I would feel weary.

"I could not experience any weariness in your society, madam; at all
events, I can leave you only by your express command, and, in that case,
I must spend the next four hours in your ante-room, for M. D--- R---- has
told me to wait for him here."

"If so, you may take a seat."

Her cold and distant manner repelled me, but I loved her, and I had never
seen her so beautiful, a slight fever animating her complexion which was
then truly dazzling in its beauty. I kept where I was, dumb and as
motionless as a statue, for a quarter of an hour. Then she rang for her
maid, and asked me to leave her alone for a moment. I was called back
soon after, and she said to me,

"What has become of your cheerfulness?"

"If it has disappeared, madam, it can only be by your will. Call it back,
and you will see it return in full force."

"What must I do to obtain that result?"

"Only be towards me as you were when I returned from Casopo. I have been
disagreeable to you for the last four months, and as I do not know why, I
feel deeply grieved."

"I am always the same: in what do you find me changed?"

"Good heavens! In everything, except in beauty. But I have taken my
decision."

"And what is it?"

"To suffer in silence, without allowing any circumstance to alter the
feelings with which you have inspired me; to wish ardently to convince
you of my perfect obedience to your commands; to be ever ready to give
you fresh proofs of my devotion."

"I thank you, but I cannot imagine what you can have to suffer in silence
on my account. I take an interest in you, and I always listen with
pleasure to your adventures. As a proof of it, I am extremely curious to
hear the history of your three loves."

I invented on the spot three purely imaginary stories, making a great
display of tender sentiments and of ardent love, but without alluding to
amorous enjoyment, particularly when she seemed to expect me to do so.
Sometimes delicacy, sometimes respect or duty, interfered to prevent the
crowning pleasure, and I took care to observe, at such moments of
disappointment, that a true lover does not require that all important
item to feel perfectly happy. I could easily see that her imagination was
travelling farther than my narrative, and that my reserve was agreeable
to her. I believed I knew her nature well enough to be certain that I was
taking the best road to induce her to follow me where I wished to lead
her. She expressed a sentiment which moved me deeply, but I was careful
not to shew it. We were talking of my third love, of the woman who, out
of pity, had undertaken to cure me, and she remarked,

"If she truly loved you, she may have wished not to cure you, but to cure
herself."

On the day following this partial reconciliation, M. F----, her husband,
begged my commanding officer, D---- R-----, to let me go with him to
Butintro for an excursion of three days, his own adjutant being seriously
ill.

Butintro is seven miles from Corfu, almost opposite to that city; it is
the nearest point to the island from the mainland. It is not a fortress,
but only a small village of Epirus, or Albania, as it is now called, and
belonging to the Venetians. Acting on the political axiom that "neglected
right is lost right," the Republic sends every year four galleys to
Butintro with a gang of galley slaves to fell trees, cut them, and load
them on the galleys, while the military keep a sharp look-out to prevent
them from escaping to Turkey and becoming Mussulmans. One of the four
galleys was commanded by M. F---- who, wanting an adjutant for the
occasion, chose me.

I went with him, and on the fourth day we came back to Corfu with a large
provision of wood. I found M. D---- R---- alone on the terrace of his
palace. It was Good Friday. He seemed thoughtful, and, after a silence of
a few minutes, he spoke the following words, which I can never forget:

"M. F-----, whose adjutant died yesterday, has just been entreating me to
give you to him until he can find another officer. I have told him that I
had no right to dispose of your person, and that he, ought to apply to
you, assuring him that, if you asked me leave to go with him, I would not
raise any objection, although I require two adjutants. Has he not
mentioned the matter to you?"

"No, monsignor, he has only tendered me his thanks for having accompanied
him to Butintro, nothing else."

"He is sure to speak to you about it. What do you intend to say?"

"Simply that I will never leave the service of your excellency without
your express command to do so."

"I never will give you such an order."

As M. D---- R---- was saying the last word, M. and Madame F---- came in.
Knowing that the conversation would most likely turn upon the subject
which had just been broached, I hurried out of the room. In less than a
quarter of an hour I was sent for, and M. F---- said to me,
confidentially,

"Well, M. Casanova, would you not be willing to live with me as my
adjutant?"

"Does his excellency dismiss me from his service?"

"Not at all," observed M. D---- R----, "but I leave you the choice."

"My lord, I could not be guilty of ingratitude."

And I remained there standing, uneasy, keeping my eyes on the ground, not
even striving to conceal my mortification, which was, after all, very
natural in such a position. I dreaded looking at Madame F----, for I knew
that she could easily guess all my feelings. An instant after, her
foolish husband coldly remarked that I should certainly have a more
fatiguing service with him than with M. D---- R----, and that, of course,
it was more honourable to serve the general governor of the galeazze than
a simple sopra-committo. I was on the point of answering, when Madame
F---- said, in a graceful and easy manner, "M. Casanova is right," and she
changed the subject. I left the room, revolving in my mind all that had
just taken place.

My conclusion was that M. F---- had asked M. D---- R---- to let me go with
him at the suggestion of his wife, or, at least with her consent, and it
was highly flattering to my love and to my vanity. But I was bound in
honour not to accept the post, unless I had a perfect assurance that it
would not be disagreeable to my present patron. "I will accept," I said
to myself, "if M. D---- R---- tells me positively that I shall please him
by doing so. It is for M. F to make him say it."

On the same night I had the honour of offering my arm to Madame
F---during the procession which takes place in commemoration of the death
of our Lord and Saviour, which was then attended on foot by all the
nobility. I expected she would mention the matter, but she did not. My
love was in despair, and through the night I could not close my eyes. I
feared she had been offended by my refusal, and was overwhelmed with
grief. I passed the whole of the next day without breaking my fast, and
did not utter a single word during the evening reception. I felt very
unwell, and I had an attack of fever which kept me in bed on Easter
Sunday. I was very weak on the Monday, and intended to remain in my room,
when a messenger from Madame F---- came to inform me that she wished to
see me. I told the messenger not to say that he had found me in bed, and
dressing myself rapidly I hurried to her house. I entered her room, pale,
looking very ill: yet she did not enquire after my health, and kept
silent a minute or two, as if she had been trying to recollect what she
had to say to me.

"Ah! yes, you are aware that our adjutant is dead, and that we want to
replace him. My husband, who has a great esteem for you, and feels that
M. D---- R---- leaves you perfectly free to make your choice, has taken
the singular fancy that you will come, if I ask you myself to do us that
pleasure. Is he mistaken? If you would come to us, you would have that
room."

She was pointing to a room adjoining the chamber in which she slept, and
so situated that, to see her in every part of her room, I should not even
require to place myself at the window.

"M. D---- R-----," she continued, "will not love you less, and as he will
see you here every day, he will not be likely to forget his interest in
your welfare. Now, tell me, will you come or not?"

"I wish I could, madam, but indeed I cannot."

"You cannot? That is singular. Take a seat, and tell me what there is to
prevent you, when, in accepting my offer, you are sure to please M.
D---- R---- as well as us."

"If I were certain of it, I would accept immediately; but all I have
heard from his lips was that he left me free to make a choice."

"Then you are afraid to grieve him, if you come to us?"

"It might be, and for nothing on earth...."

"I am certain of the contrary."

"Will you be so good as to obtain that he says so to me himself?"

"And then you will come?"

"Oh, madam! that very minute!"

But the warmth of my exclamation might mean a great deal, and I turned my
head round so as not to embarrass her. She asked me to give her her
mantle to go to church, and we went out. As we were going down the
stairs, she placed her ungloved hand upon mine. It was the first time
that she had granted me such a favour, and it seemed to me a good omen.
She took off her hand, asking me whether I was feverish. "Your hand," she
said, "is burning."

When we left the church, M. D---- R-----'s carriage happened to pass, and
I assisted her to get in, and as soon as she had gone, hurried to my room
in order to breathe freely and to enjoy all the felicity which filled my
soul; for I no longer doubted her love for me, and I knew that, in this
case, M. D---- R---- was not likely to refuse her anything.

What is love? I have read plenty of ancient verbiage on that subject, I
have read likewise most of what has been said by modern writers, but
neither all that has been said, nor what I have thought about it, when I
was young and now that I am no longer so, nothing, in fact, can make me
agree that love is a trifling vanity. It is a sort of madness, I grant
that, but a madness over which philosophy is entirely powerless; it is a
disease to which man is exposed at all times, no matter at what age, and
which cannot be cured, if he is attacked by it in his old age. Love being
sentiment which cannot be explained! God of all nature!--bitter and sweet
feeling! Love!--charming monster which cannot be fathomed! God who, in
the midst of all the thorns with which thou plaguest us, strewest so many
roses on our path that, without thee, existence and death would be united
and blended together!

Two days afterwards, M. D---- R-----, told me to go and take orders from
M. F---- on board his galley, which was ready for a five or six days'
voyage. I quickly packed a few things, and called for my new patron who
received me with great joy. We took our departure without seeing madam,
who was not yet visible. We returned on the sixth day, and I went to
establish myself in my new home, for, as I was preparing to go to M.
D---- R-----, to take his orders, after our landing, he came himself, and
after asking M. F---- and me whether we were pleased with each other, he
said to me,

"Casanova, as you suit each other so well, you may be certain that you
will greatly please me by remaining in the service of M. F."

I obeyed respectfully, and in less than one hour I had taken possession
of my new quarters. Madame F---- told me how delighted she was to see that
great affair ended according to her wishes, and I answered with a deep
reverence.

I found myself like the salamander, in the very heart of the fire for
which I had been longing so ardently.

Almost constantly in the presence of Madame F----, dining often alone
with her, accompanying her in her walks, even when M. D---- R---- was not
with us, seeing her from my room, or conversing with her in her chamber,
always reserved and attentive without pretension, the first night passed
by without any change being brought about by that constant intercourse.
Yet I was full of hope, and to keep up my courage I imagined that love
was not yet powerful enough to conquer her pride. I expected everything
from some lucky chance, which I promised myself to improve as soon as it
should present itself, for I was persuaded that a lover is lost if he
does not catch fortune by the forelock.

But there was one circumstance which annoyed me. In public, she seized
every opportunity of treating me with distinction, while, when we were
alone, it was exactly the reverse. In the eyes of the world I had all the
appearance of a happy lover, but I would rather have had less of the
appearance of happiness and more of the reality. My love for her was
disinterested; vanity had no share in my feelings.

One day, being alone with me, she said,

"You have enemies, but I silenced them last night."

"They are envious, madam, and they would pity me if they could read the
secret pages of my heart. You could easily deliver me from those
enemies."

"How can you be an object of pity for them, and how could I deliver you
from them?"

"They believe me happy, and I am miserable; you would deliver me from
them by ill-treating me in their presence."

"Then you would feel my bad treatment less than the envy of the wicked?"

"Yes, madam, provided your bad treatment in public were compensated by
your kindness when we are alone, for there is no vanity in the happiness
I feel in belonging to you. Let others pity me, I will be happy on
condition that others are mistaken."

"That's a part that I can never play."

I would often be indiscreet enough to remain behind the curtain of the
window in my room, looking at her when she thought herself perfectly
certain that nobody saw her; but the liberty I was thus guilty of never
proved of great advantage to me. Whether it was because she doubted my
discretion or from habitual reserve, she was so particular that, even
when I saw her in bed, my longing eyes never could obtain a sight of
anything but her head.

One day, being present in her room while her maid was cutting off the
points of her long and beautiful hair, I amused myself in picking up all
those pretty bits, and put them all, one after the other, on her
toilettable, with the exception of one small lock which I slipped into my
pocket, thinking that she had not taken any notice of my keeping it; but
the moment we were alone she told me quietly, but rather too seriously,
to take out of my pocket the hair I had picked up from the floor.
Thinking she was going too far, and such rigour appearing to me as cruel
as it was unjust and absurd, I obeyed, but threw the hair on the
toilet-table with an air of supreme contempt.

"Sir, you forget yourself."

"No, madam, I do not, for you might have feigned not to have observed
such an innocent theft."

"Feigning is tiresome."

"Was such petty larceny a very great crime?"

"No crime, but it was an indication of feelings which you have no right
to entertain for me."

"Feelings which you are at liberty not to return, madam, but which hatred
or pride can alone forbid my heart to experience. If you had a heart you
would not be the victim of either of those two fearful passions, but you
have only head, and it must be a very wicked head, judging by the care it
takes to heap humiliation upon me. You have surprised my secret, madam,
you may use it as you think proper, but in the meantime I have learned to
know you thoroughly. That knowledge will prove more useful than your
discovery, for perhaps it will help me to become wiser."

After this violent tirade I left her, and as she did not call me back
retired to my room. In the hope that sleep would bring calm, I undressed
and went to bed. In such moments a lover hates the object of his love,
and his heart distils only contempt and hatred. I could not go to sleep,
and when I was sent for at supper-time I answered that I was ill. The
night passed off without my eyes being visited by sleep, and feeling weak
and low I thought I would wait to see what ailed me, and refused to have
my dinner, sending word that I was still very unwell. Towards evening I
felt my heart leap for joy when I heard my beautiful lady-love enter my
room. Anxiety, want of food and sleep, gave me truly the appearance of
being ill, and I was delighted that it should be so. I sent her away very
soon, by telling her with perfect indifference that it was nothing but a
bad headache, to which I was subject, and that repose and diet would
effect a speedy cure.

But at eleven o'clock she came back with her friend, M. D---- R-----, and
coming to my bed she said, affectionately,

"What ails you, my poor Casanova?"

"A very bad headache, madam, which will be cured to-morrow."

"Why should you wait until to-morrow? You must get better at once. I have
ordered a basin of broth and two new-laid eggs for you."

"Nothing, madam; complete abstinence can alone cure me."

"He is right," said M. D---- R-----, "I know those attacks."

I shook my head slightly. M. D---- R---- having just then turned round to
examine an engraving, she took my hand, saying that she would like me to
drink some broth, and I felt that she was giving me a small parcel. She
went to look at the engraving with M. D---- R-----.

I opened the parcel, but feeling that it contained hair, I hurriedly
concealed it under the bed-clothes: at the same moment the blood rushed
to my head with such violence that it actually frightened me. I begged
for some water, she came to me, with M. D---- R-----, and then were both
frightened to see me so red, when they had seen me pale and weak only one
minute before.

Madame F---- gave me a glass of water in which she put some Eau des carmes
which instantly acted as a violent emetic. Two or three minutes after I
felt better, and asked for something to eat. Madame F---- smiled. The
servant came in with the broth and the eggs, and while I was eating I
told the history of Pandolfin. M. D---- R---- thought it was all a
miracle, and I could read, on the countenance of the charming woman,
love, affection, and repentance. If M. D---- R---- had not been present,
it would have been the moment of my happiness, but I felt certain that I
should not have long to wait. M. D---- R---- told Madame F---- that, if he
had not seen me so sick, he would have believed my illness to be all
sham, for he did not think it possible for anyone to rally so rapidly.

"It is all owing to my Eau des carmes," said Madame F-----, looking at
me, "and I will leave you my bottle."

"No, madam, be kind enough to take it with you, for the water would have
no virtue without your presence."

"I am sure of that," said M. D---- R-----, "so I will leave you here with
your patient."

"No, no, he must go to sleep now."

I slept all night, but in my happy dreams I was with her, and the reality
itself would hardly have procured me greater enjoyment than I had during
my happy slumbers. I saw I had taken a very long stride forward, for
twenty-four hours of abstinence gave me the right to speak to her openly
of my love, and the gift of her hair was an irrefutable confession of her
own feelings.

On the following day, after presenting myself before M. F----, I went to
have a little chat with the maid, to wait until her mistress was visible,
which was not long, and I had the pleasure of hearing her laugh when the
maid told her I was there. As soon as I went in, without giving me time
to say a single word, she told me how delighted she was to see me looking
so well, and advised me to call upon M. D---- R-----.

It is not only in the eyes of a lover, but also in those of every man of
taste, that a woman is a thousand times more lovely at the moment she
comes out of the arms of Morpheus than when she has completed her toilet.
Around Madame F---- more brilliant beams were blazing than around the sun
when he leaves the embrace of Aurora. Yet the most beautiful woman thinks
as much of her toilet as the one who cannot do without it--very likely
because more human creatures possess the more they want.

In the order given to me by Madame F---- to call on M. D---- R-----, I saw
another reason to be certain of approaching happiness, for I thought
that, by dismissing me so quickly, she had only tried to postpone the
consummation which I might have pressed upon her, and which she could not
have refused.

Rich in the possession of her hair, I held a consultation with my love to
decide what I ought to do with it, for Madame F----, very likely in her
wish to atone for the miserly sentiment which had refused me a small bit,
had given me a splendid lock, full a yard and a half long. Having thought
it over, I called upon a Jewish confectioner whose daughter was a skilful
embroiderer, and I made her embroider before me, on a bracelet of green
satin, the four initial letters of our names, and make a very thin chain
with the remainder. I had a piece of black ribbon added to one end of the
chain, in the shape of a sliding noose, with which I could easily
strangle myself if ever love should reduce me to despair, and I passed it
round my neck. As I did not want to lose even the smallest particle of so
precious a treasure, I cut with a pair of scissors all the small bits
which were left, and devoutly gathered them together. Then I reduced them
into a fine powder, and ordered the Jewish confectioner to mix the powder
in my presence with a paste made of amber, sugar, vanilla, angelica,
alkermes and storax, and I waited until the comfits prepared with that
mixture were ready. I had some more made with the same composition, but
without any hair; I put the first in a beautiful sweetmeat box of fine
crystal, and the second in a tortoise-shell box.

From the day when, by giving me her hair, Madame F---- had betrayed the
secret feelings of her heart, I no longer lost my time in relating
stories or adventures; I only spoke to her of my cove, of my ardent
desires; I told her that she must either banish me from her presence, or
crown my happiness, but the cruel, charming woman would not accept that
alternative. She answered that happiness could not be obtained by
offending every moral law, and by swerving from our duties. If I threw
myself at her feet to obtain by anticipation her forgiveness for the
loving violence I intended to use against her, she would repulse me more
powerfully than if she had had the strength of a female Hercules, for she
would say, in a voice full of sweetness and affection,

"My friend, I do not entreat you to respect my weakness, but be generous
enough to spare me for the sake of all the love I feel for you."

"What! you love me, and you refuse to make me happy! It is impossible! it
is unnatural. You compel me to believe that you do not love me. Only
allow me to press my lips one moment upon your lips, and I ask no more."

"No, dearest, no; it would only excite the ardour of your desires, shake
my resolution, and we should then find ourselves more miserable than we
are now."

Thus did she every day plunge me in despair, and yet she complained that
my wit was no longer brilliant in society, that I had lost that
elasticity of spirits which had pleased her so much after my arrival from
Constantinople. M. D---- R-----, who often jestingly waged war against me,
used to say that I was getting thinner and thinner every day. Madame
F---- told me one day that my sickly looks were very disagreeable to her,
because wicked tongues would not fail to say that she treated me with
cruelty. Strange, almost unnatural thought! On it I composed an idyll
which I cannot read, even now, without feeling tears in my eyes.

"What!" I answered, "you acknowledge your cruelty towards me? You are
afraid of the world guessing all your heartless rigour, and yet you
continue to enjoy it! You condemn me unmercifully to the torments of
Tantalus! You would be delighted to see me gay, cheerful, happy, even at
the expense of a judgment by which the world would find you guilty of a
supposed but false kindness towards me, and yet you refuse me even the
slightest favours!"

"I do not mind people believing anything, provided it is not true."

"What a contrast! Would it be possible for me not to love you, for you to
feel nothing for me? Such contradictions strike me as unnatural. But you
are growing thinner yourself, and I am dying. It must be so; we shall
both die before long, you of consumption, I of exhausting decline; for I
am now reduced to enjoying your shadow during the day, during the night,
always, everywhere, except when I am in your presence."

At that passionate declaration, delivered with all the ardour of an
excited lover, she was surprised, deeply moved, and I thought that the
happy hour had struck. I folded her in my arms, and was already tasting
the first fruits of enjoyment. . . . The sentinel knocked twice! . . . Oh!
fatal mischance! I recovered my composure and stood in front of her. . . .
M. D---- R---- made his appearance, and this time he found me in so
cheerful a mood that he remained with us until one o'clock in the
morning.

My comfits were beginning to be the talk of our society. M. D---- R-----,
Madame F----, and I were the only ones who had a box full of them. I was
stingy with them, and no one durst beg any from me, because I had said
that they were very expensive, and that in all Corfu there was no
confectioner who could make or physician who could analyse them. I never
gave one out of my crystal box, and Madame F. remarked it. I certainly
did not believe them to be amorous philtre, and I was very far from
supposing that the addition of the hair made them taste more delicious;
but a superstition, the offspring of my love, caused me to cherish them,
and it made me happy to think that a small portion of the woman I
worshipped was thus becoming a part of my being.

Influenced perhaps by some secret sympathy, Madame F. was exceedingly
fond of the comfits. She asserted before all her friends that they were
the universal panacea, and knowing herself perfect mistress of the
inventor, she did not enquire after the secret of the composition. But
having observed that I gave away only the comfits which I kept in my
tortoise-shell box, and that I never eat any but those from the crystal
box, she one day asked me what reason I had for that. Without taking time
to think, I told her that in those I kept for myself there was a certain
ingredient which made the partaker love her.

"I do not believe it," she answered; "but are they different from those I
eat myself?"

"They are exactly the same, with the exception of the ingredient I have
just mentioned, which has been put only in mine."

"Tell me what the ingredient is."

"It is a secret which I cannot reveal to you."

"Then I will never eat any of your comfits."

Saying which, she rose, emptied her box, and filled it again with
chocolate drops; and for the next few days she was angry with me, and
avoided my company. I felt grieved, I became low-spirited, but I could
not make up my mind to tell her that I was eating her hair!

She enquired why I looked so sad.

"Because you refuse to take my comfits."

"You are master of your secret, and I am mistress of my diet."

"That is my reward for having taken you into my confidence."

And I opened my box, emptied its contents in my hand, and swallowed the
whole of them, saying, "Two more doses like this, and I shall die mad
with love for you. Then you will be revenged for my reserve. Farewell,
madam."

She called me back, made me take a seat near her, and told me not to
commit follies which would make her unhappy; that I knew how much she
loved me, and that it was not owing to the effect of any drug. "To prove
to you," she added, "that you do not require anything of the sort to be
loved, here is a token of my affection." And she offered me her lovely
lips, and upon them mine remained pressed until I was compelled to draw a
breath. I threw myself at her feet, with tears of love and gratitude
blinding my eyes, and told her that I would confess my crime, if she
would promise to forgive me.

"Your crime! You frighten me. Yes, I forgive you, but speak quickly, and
tell me all."

"Yes, everything. My comfits contain your hair reduced to a powder. Here
on my arm, see this bracelet on which our names are written with your
hair, and round my neck this chain of the same material, which will help
me to destroy my own life when your love fails me. Such is my crime, but
I would not have been guilty of it, if I had not loved you."

She smiled, and, bidding me rise from my kneeling position, she told me
that I was indeed the most criminal of men, and she wiped away my tears,
assuring me that I should never have any reason to strangle myself with
the chain.

After that conversation, in which I had enjoyed the sweet nectar of my
divinity's first kiss, I had the courage to behave in a very different
manner. She could see the ardour which consumed me; perhaps the same fire
burned in her veins, but I abstained from any attack.

"What gives you," she said one day, "the strength to control yourself?"

"After the kiss which you granted to me of your own accord, I felt that I
ought not to wish any favour unless your heart gave it as freely. You
cannot imagine the happiness that kiss has given me."

"I not imagine it, you ungrateful man! Which of us has given that
happiness?"

"Neither you nor I, angel of my soul! That kiss so tender, so sweet, was
the child of love!"

"Yes, dearest, of love, the treasures of which are inexhaustible."

The words were scarcely spoken, when our lips were engaged in happy
concert. She held me so tight against her bosom that I could not use my
hands to secure other pleasures, but I felt myself perfectly happy. After
that delightful skirmish, I asked her whether we were never to go any
further.

"Never, dearest friend, never. Love is a child which must be amused with
trifles; too substantial food would kill it."

"I know love better than you; it requires that substantial food, and
unless it can obtain it, love dies of exhaustion. Do not refuse me the
consolation of hope."

"Hope as much as you please, if it makes you happy."

"What should I do, if I had no hope? I hope, because I know you have a
heart."

"Ah! yes. Do you recollect the day, when, in your anger, you told me that
I had only a head, but no heart, thinking you were insulting me grossly!"

"Oh! yes, I recollect it."

"How heartily I laughed, when I had time to think! Yes, dearest, I have a
heart, or I should not feel as happy as I feel now. Let us keep our
happiness, and be satisfied with it, as it is, without wishing for
anything more."

Obedient to her wishes, but every day more deeply enamoured, I was in
hope that nature at last would prove stronger than prejudice, and would
cause a fortunate crisis. But, besides nature, fortune was my friend, and
I owed my happiness to an accident.

Madame F. was walking one day in the garden, leaning on M. D---- R-----'s
arm, and was caught by a large rose-bush, and the prickly thorns left a
deep cut on her leg. M. D---- R---- bandaged the wound with his
handkerchief, so as to stop the blood which was flowing abundantly, and
she had to be carried home in a palanquin.

In Corfu, wounds on the legs are dangerous when they are not well
attended to, and very often the wounded are compelled to leave the city
to be cured.

Madame F---- was confined to her bed, and my lucky position in the house
condemned me to remain constantly at her orders. I saw her every minute;
but, during the first three days, visitors succeeded each other without
intermission, and I never was alone with her. In the evening, after
everybody had gone, and her husband had retired to his own apartment, M.
D---- R---- remained another hour, and for the sake of propriety I had to
take my leave at the same time that he did. I had much more liberty
before the accident, and I told her so half seriously, half jestingly.
The next day, to make up for my disappointment, she contrived a moment of
happiness for me.

An elderly surgeon came every morning to dress her wound, during which
operation her maid only was present, but I used to go, in my morning
dishabille, to the girl's room, and to wait there, so as to be the first
to hear how my dear one was.

That morning, the girl came to tell me to go in as the surgeon was
dressing the wound.

"See, whether my leg is less inflamed."

"To give an opinion, madam, I ought to have seen it yesterday."

"True. I feel great pain, and I am afraid of erysipelas."

"Do not be afraid, madam," said the surgeon, "keep your bed, and I answer
for your complete recovery."

The surgeon being busy preparing a poultice at the other end of the room,
and the maid out, I enquired whether she felt any hardness in the calf of
the leg, and whether the inflammation went up the limb; and naturally, my
eyes and my hands kept pace with my questions.... I saw no inflammation,
I felt no hardness, but... and the lovely patient hurriedly let the
curtain fall, smiling, and allowing me to take a sweet kiss, the perfume
of which I had not enjoyed for many days. It was a sweet moment; a
delicious ecstacy. From her mouth my lips descended to her wound, and
satisfied in that moment that my kisses were the best of medicines, I
would have kept my lips there, if the noise made by the maid coming back
had not compelled me to give up my delightful occupation.

When we were left alone, burning with intense desires, I entreated her to
grant happiness at least to my eyes.

"I feel humiliated," I said to her, "by the thought that the felicity I
have just enjoyed was only a theft."

"But supposing you were mistaken?"

The next day I was again present at the dressing of the wound, and as
soon as the surgeon had left, she asked me to arrange her pillows, which
I did at once. As if to make that pleasant office easier, she raised the
bedclothes to support herself, and she thus gave me a sight of beauties
which intoxicated my eyes, and I protracted the easy operation without
her complaining of my being too slow.

When I had done I was in a fearful state, and I threw myself in an
arm-chair opposite her bed, half dead, in a sort of trance. I was looking
at that lovely being who, almost artless, was continually granting me
greater and still greater favours, and yet never allowed me to reach the
goal for which I was so ardently longing.

"What are you thinking of?" she said.

"Of the supreme felicity I have just been enjoying."

"You are a cruel man."

"No, I am not cruel, for, if you love me, you must not blush for your
indulgence. You must know, too, that, loving you passionately, I must not
suppose that it is to be a surprise that I am indebted for my happiness
in the enjoyment of the most ravishing sights, for if I owed it only to
mere chance I should be compelled to believe that any other man in my
position might have had the same happiness, and such an idea would be
misery to me. Let me be indebted to you for having proved to me this
morning how much enjoyment I can derive from one of my senses. Can you be
angry with my eyes?"

"Yes."

"They belong to you; tear them out."

The next day, the moment the doctor had gone, she sent her maid out to
make some purchases.

"Ah!" she said a few minutes after, "my maid has forgotten to change my
chemise."

"Allow me to take her place."

"Very well, but recollect that I give permission only to your eyes to
take a share in the proceedings."

"Agreed!"

She unlaced herself, took off her stays and her chemise, and told me to
be quick and put on the clean one, but I was not speedy enough, being too
much engaged by all I could see.

"Give me my chemise," she exclaimed; "it is there on that small table."

"Where?"

"There, near the bed. Well, I will take it myself."

She leaned over towards the table, and exposed almost everything I was
longing for, and, turning slowly round, she handed me the chemise which I
could hardly hold, trembling all over with fearful excitement. She took
pity on me, my hands shared the happiness of my eyes; I fell in her arms,
our lips fastened together, and, in a voluptuous, ardent pressure, we
enjoyed an amorous exhaustion not sufficient to allay our desires, but
delightful enough to deceive them for the moment.

With greater control over herself than women have generally under similar
circumstances, she took care to let me reach only the porch of the
temple, without granting me yet a free entrance to the sanctuary.





EPISODE 4 -- RETURN TO VENICE




CHAPTER XVI

     A Fearful Misfortune Befalls Me--Love Cools Down--Leave
     Corfu and Return to Venice--Give Up the Army and Become a
     Fiddler

The wound was rapidly healing up, and I saw near at hand the moment when
Madame F---- would leave her bed, and resume her usual avocations.

The governor of the galeasses having issued orders for a general review
at Gouyn, M. F----, left for that place in his galley, telling me to join
him there early on the following day with the felucca. I took supper
alone with Madame F----, and I told her how unhappy it made me to remain
one day away from her.

"Let us make up to-night for to-morrow's disappointment," she said, "and
let us spend it together in conversation. Here are the keys; when you
know that my maid has left me, come to me through my husband's room."

I did not fail to follow her instructions to the letter, and we found
ourselves alone with five hours before us. It was the month of June, and
the heat was intense. She had gone to bed; I folded her in my arms, she
pressed me to her bosom, but, condemning herself to the most cruel
torture, she thought I had no right to complain, if I was subjected to
the same privation which she imposed upon herself. My remonstrances, my
prayers, my entreaties were of no avail.

"Love," she said, "must be kept in check with a tight hand, and we can
laugh at him, since, in spite of the tyranny which we force him to obey,
we succeed all the same in gratifying our desires."

After the first ecstacy, our eyes and lips unclosed together, and a
little apart from each other we take delight in seeing the mutual
satisfaction beaming on our features.

Our desires revive; she casts a look upon my state of innocence entirely
exposed to her sight. She seems vexed at my want of excitement, and,
throwing off everything which makes the heat unpleasant and interferes
with our pleasure, she bounds upon me. It is more than amorous fury, it
is desperate lust. I share her frenzy, I hug her with a sort of delirium,
I enjoy a felicity which is on the point of carrying me to the regions of
bliss.... but, at the very moment of completing the offering, she fails
me, moves off, slips away, and comes back to work off my excitement with
a hand which strikes me as cold as ice.

"Ah, thou cruel, beloved woman! Thou art burning with the fire of love,
and thou deprivest thyself of the only remedy which could bring calm to
thy senses! Thy lovely hand is more humane than thou art, but thou has
not enjoyed the felicity that thy hand has given me. My hand must owe
nothing to thine. Come, darling light of my heart, come! Love doubles my
existence in the hope that I will die again, but only in that charming
retreat from which you have ejected me in the very moment of my greatest
enjoyment."

While I was speaking thus, her very soul was breathing forth the most
tender sighs of happiness, and as she pressed me tightly in her arms I
felt that she was weltering in an ocean of bliss.

Silence lasted rather a long time, but that unnatural felicity was
imperfect, and increased my excitement.

"How canst thou complain," she said tenderly, "when it is to that very
imperfection of our enjoyment that we are indebted for its continuance? I
loved thee a few minutes since, now I love thee a thousand times more,
and perhaps I should love thee less if thou hadst carried my enjoyment to
its highest limit."

"Oh! how much art thou mistaken, lovely one! How great is thy error! Thou
art feeding upon sophisms, and thou leavest reality aside; I mean nature
which alone can give real felicity. Desires constantly renewed and never
fully satisfied are more terrible than the torments of hell."

"But are not these desires happiness when they are always accompanied by
hope?"

"No, if that hope is always disappointed. It becomes hell itself, because
there is no hope, and hope must die when it is killed by constant
deception."

"Dearest, if hope does not exist in hell, desires cannot be found there
either; for to imagine desires without hopes would be more than madness."

"Well, answer me. If you desire to be mine entirely, and if you feel the
hope of it, which, according to your way of reasoning, is a natural
consequence, why do you always raise an impediment to your own hope?
Cease, dearest, cease to deceive yourself by absurd sophisms. Let us be
as happy as it is in nature to be, and be quite certain that the reality
of happiness will increase our love, and that love will find a new life
in our very enjoyment."

"What I see proves the contrary; you are alive with excitement now, but
if your desires had been entirely satisfied, you would be dead, benumbed,
motionless. I know it by experience: if you had breathed the full ecstacy
of enjoyment, as you desired, you would have found a weak ardour only at
long intervals."

"Ah! charming creature, your experience is but very small; do not trust
to it. I see that you have never known love. That which you call love's
grave is the sanctuary in which it receives life, the abode which makes
it immortal. Give way to my prayers, my lovely friend, and then you shall
know the difference between Love and Hymen. You shall see that, if Hymen
likes to die in order to get rid of life, Love on the contrary expires
only to spring up again into existence, and hastens to revive, so as to
savour new enjoyment. Let me undeceive you, and believe me when I say
that the full gratification of desires can only increase a hundredfold
the mutual ardour of two beings who adore each other."

"Well, I must believe you; but let us wait. In the meantime let us enjoy
all the trifles, all the sweet preliminaries of love. Devour thy
mistress, dearest, but abandon to me all thy being. If this night is too
short we must console ourselves to-morrow by making arrangements for
another one."

"And if our intercourse should be discovered?"

"Do we make a mystery of it? Everybody can see that we love each other,
and those who think that we do not enjoy the happiness of lovers are
precisely the only persons we have to fear. We must only be careful to
guard against being surprised in the very act of proving our love. Heaven
and nature must protect our affection, for there is no crime when two
hearts are blended in true love. Since I have been conscious of my own
existence, Love has always seemed to me the god of my being, for every
time I saw a man I was delighted; I thought that I was looking upon
one-half of myself, because I felt I was made for him and he for me. I
longed to be married. It was that uncertain longing of the heart which
occupies exclusively a young girl of fifteen. I had no conception of
love, but I fancied that it naturally accompanied marriage. You can
therefore imagine my surprise when my husband, in the very act of making
a woman of me, gave me a great deal of pain without giving me the
slightest idea of pleasure! My imagination in the convent was much better
than the reality I had been condemned to by my husband! The result has
naturally been that we have become very good friends, but a very
indifferent husband and wife, without any desires for each other. He has
every reason to be pleased with me, for I always shew myself docile to
his wishes, but enjoyment not being in those cases seasoned by love, he
must find it without flavour, and he seldom comes to me for it.

"When I found out that you were in love with me, I felt delighted, and
gave you every opportunity of becoming every day more deeply enamoured of
me, thinking myself certain of never loving you myself. As soon as I felt
that love had likewise attacked my heart, I ill-treated you to punish you
for having made my heart sensible. Your patience and constancy have
astonished me, and have caused me to be guilty, for after the first kiss
I gave you I had no longer any control over myself. I was indeed
astounded when I saw the havoc made by one single kiss, and I felt that
my happiness was wrapped up in yours. That discovery flattered and
delighted me, and I have found out, particularly to-night, that I cannot
be happy unless you are so yourself."

"That is, my beloved, the most refined of all sentiments experienced by
love, but it is impossible for you to render me completely happy without
following in everything the laws and the wishes of nature."

The night was spent in tender discussions and in exquisite
voluptuousness, and it was not without some grief that at day-break I
tore myself from her arms to go to Gouyn. She wept for joy when she saw
that I left her without having lost a particle of my vigour, for she did
not imagine such a thing possible.

After that night, so rich in delights, ten or twelve days passed without
giving us any opportunity of quenching even a small particle of the
amorous thirst which devoured us, and it was then that a fearful
misfortune befell me.

One evening after supper, M. D---- R---- having retired, M. F---- used no
ceremony, and, although I was present, told his wife that he intended to
pay her a visit after writing two letters which he had to dispatch early
the next morning. The moment he had left the room we looked at each
other, and with one accord fell into each other's arms. A torrent of
delights rushed through our souls without restraint, without reserve, but
when the first ardour had been appeased, without giving me time to think
or to enjoy the most complete, the most delicious victory, she drew back,
repulsed me, and threw herself, panting, distracted, upon a chair near
her bed. Rooted to the spot, astonished, almost mad, I tremblingly looked
at her, trying to understand what had caused such an extraordinary
action. She turned round towards me and said, her eyes flashing with the
fire of love,

"My darling, we were on the brink of the precipice."

"The precipice! Ah! cruel woman, you have killed me, I feel myself dying,
and perhaps you will never see me again."

I left her in a state of frenzy, and rushed out, towards the esplanade,
to cool myself, for I was choking. Any man who has not experienced the
cruelty of an action like that of Madame F----, and especially in the
situation I found myself in at that moment, mentally and bodily, can
hardly realize what I suffered, and, although I have felt that suffering,
I could not give an idea of it.

I was in that fearful state, when I heard my name called from a window,
and unfortunately I condescended to answer. I went near the window, and I
saw, thanks to the moonlight, the famous Melulla standing on her balcony.

"What are you doing there at this time of night?" I enquired.

"I am enjoying the cool evening breeze. Come up for a little while."

This Melulla, of fatal memory, was a courtezan from Zamte, of rare
beauty, who for the last four months had been the delight and the rage of
all the young men in Corfu. Those who had known her agreed in extolling
her charms: she was the talk of all the city. I had seen her often, but,
although she was very beautiful, I was very far from thinking her as
lovely as Madame F----, putting my affection for the latter on one side.
I recollect seeing in Dresden, in the year 1790, a very handsome woman
who was the image of Melulla.

I went upstairs mechanically, and she took me to a voluptuous boudoir;
she complained of my being the only one who had never paid her a visit,
when I was the man she would have preferred to all others, and I had the
infamy to give way.... I became the most criminal of men.

It was neither desire, nor imagination, nor the merit of the woman which
caused me to yield, for Melulla was in no way worthy of me; no, it was
weakness, indolence, and the state of bodily and mental irritation in
which I then found myself: it was a sort of spite, because the angel whom
I adored had displeased me by a caprice, which, had I not been unworthy
of her, would only have caused me to be still more attached to her.

Melulla, highly pleased with her success, refused the gold I wanted to
give her, and allowed me to go after I had spent two hours with her.

When I recovered my composure, I had but one feeling-hatred for myself
and for the contemptible creature who had allured me to be guilty of so
vile an insult to the loveliest of her sex. I went home the prey to
fearful remorse, and went to bed, but sleep never closed my eyes
throughout that cruel night.

In the morning, worn out with fatigue and sorrow, I got up, and as soon
as I was dressed I went to M. F----, who had sent for me to give me some
orders. After I had returned, and had given him an account of my mission,
I called upon Madame F----, and finding her at her toilet I wished her
good morning, observing that her lovely face was breathing the
cheerfulness and the calm of happiness; but, suddenly, her eyes meeting
mine, I saw her countenance change, and an expression of sadness replace
her looks of satisfaction. She cast her eyes down as if she was deep in
thought, raised them again as if to read my very soul, and breaking our
painful silence, as soon as she had dismissed her maid, she said to me,
with an accent full of tenderness and of solemnity,

"Dear one, let there be no concealment either on my part or on yours. I
felt deeply grieved when I saw you leave me last night, and a little
consideration made me understand all the evil which might accrue to you
in consequence of what I had done. With a nature like yours, such scenes
might cause very dangerous disorders, and I have resolved not to do again
anything by halves. I thought that you went out to breathe the fresh air,
and I hoped it would do you good. I placed myself at my window, where I
remained more than an hour without seeing alight in your room. Sorry for
what I had done, loving you more than ever, I was compelled, when my
husband came to my room, to go to bed with the sad conviction that you
had not come home. This morning, M. F. sent an officer to tell you that
he wanted to see you, and I heard the messenger inform him that you were
not yet up, and that you had come home very late. I felt my heart swell
with sorrow. I am not jealous, dearest, for I know that you cannot love
anyone but me; I only felt afraid of some misfortune. At last, this
morning, when I heard you coming, I was happy, because I was ready to
skew my repentance, but I looked at you, and you seemed a different man.
Now, I am still looking at you, and, in spite of myself, my soul reads
upon your countenance that you are guilty, that you have outraged my
love. Tell me at once, dearest, if I am mistaken; if you have deceived
me, say so openly. Do not be unfaithful to love and to truth. Knowing
that I was the cause of it, I should never forgive my self, but there is
an excuse for you in my heart, in my whole being."

More than once, in the course of my life, I have found myself under the
painful necessity of telling falsehoods to the woman I loved; but in this
case, after so true, so touching an appeal, how could I be otherwise than
sincere? I felt myself sufficiently debased by my crime, and I could not
degrade myself still more by falsehood. I was so far from being disposed
to such a line of conduct that I could not speak, and I burst out crying.

"What, my darling! you are weeping! Your tears make me miserable. You
ought not to have shed any with me but tears of happiness and love.
Quick, my beloved, tell me whether you have made me wretched. Tell me
what fearful revenge you have taken on me, who would rather die than
offend you. If I have caused you any sorrow, it has been in the innocence
of a loving and devoted heart."

"My own darling angel, I never thought of revenge, for my heart, which
can never cease to adore you, could never conceive such a dreadful idea.
It is against my own heart that my cowardly weakness has allured me to
the commission of a crime which, for the remainder of my life, makes me
unworthy of you."

"Have you, then, given yourself to some wretched woman?"

"Yes, I have spent two hours in the vilest debauchery, and my soul was
present only to be the witness of my sadness, of my remorse, of my
unworthiness."

"Sadness and remorse! Oh, my poor friend! I believe it. But it is my
fault; I alone ought to suffer; it is I who must beg you to forgive me."

Her tears made mine flow again.

"Divine soul," I said, "the reproaches you are addressing to yourself
increase twofold the gravity of my crime. You would never have been
guilty of any wrong against me if I had been really worthy of your love."

I felt deeply the truth of my words.

We spent the remainder of the day apparently quiet and composed,
concealing our sadness in the depths of our hearts. She was curious to
know all the circumstances of my miserable adventure, and, accepting it
as an expiation, I related them to her. Full of kindness, she assured me
that we were bound to ascribe that accident to fate, and that the same
thing might have happened to the best of men. She added that I was more
to be pitied than condemned, and that she did not love me less. We both
were certain that we would seize the first favourable opportunity, she of
obtaining her pardon, I of atoning for my crime, by giving each other new
and complete proofs of our mutual ardour. But Heaven in its justice had
ordered differently, and I was cruelly punished for my disgusting
debauchery.

On the third day, as I got up in the morning, an awful pricking announced
the horrid state into which the wretched Melulla had thrown me. I was
thunderstruck! And when I came to think of the misery which I might have
caused if, during the last three days, I had obtained some new favour
from my lovely mistress, I was on the point of going mad. What would have
been her feelings if I had made her unhappy for the remainder of her
life! Would anyone, then, knowing the whole case, have condemned me if I
had destroyed my own life in order to deliver myself from everlasting
remorse? No, for the man who kills himself from sheer despair, thus
performing upon himself the execution of the sentence he would have
deserved at the hands of justice cannot be blamed either by a virtuous
philosopher or by a tolerant Christian. But of one thing I am quite
certain: if such a misfortune had happened, I should have committed
suicide.

Overwhelmed with grief by the discovery I had just made, but thinking
that I should get rid of the inconvenience as I had done three times
before, I prepared myself for a strict diet, which would restore my
health in six weeks without anyone having any suspicion of my illness,
but I soon found out that I had not seen the end of my troubles; Melulla
had communicated to my system all the poisons which corrupt the source of
life. I was acquainted with an elderly doctor of great experience in
those matters; I consulted him, and he promised to set me to rights in
two months; he proved as good as his word. At the beginning of September
I found myself in good health, and it was about that time that I returned
to Venice.

The first thing I resolved on, as soon as I discovered the state I was
in, was to confess everything to Madame F----. I did not wish to wait for
the time when a compulsory confession would have made her blush for her
weakness, and given her cause to think of the fearful consequences which
might have been the result of her passion for me. Her affection was too
dear to me to run the risk of losing it through a want of confidence in
her. Knowing her heart, her candour, and the generosity which had
prompted her to say that I was more to be pitied than blamed, I thought
myself bound to prove by my sincerity that I deserved her esteem.

I told her candidly my position and the state I had been thrown in, when
I thought of the dreadful consequences it might have had for her. I saw
her shudder and tremble, and she turned pale with fear when I added that
I would have avenged her by killing myself.

"Villainous, infamous Melulla!" she exclaimed.

And I repeated those words, but turning them against myself when I
realized all I had sacrificed through the most disgusting weakness.

Everyone in Corfu knew of my visit to the wretched Melulla, and everyone
seemed surprised to see the appearance of health on my countenance; for
many were the victims that she had treated like me.

My illness was not my only sorrow; I had others which, although of a
different nature, were not less serious. It was written in the book of
fate that I should return to Venice a simple ensign as when I left: the
general did not keep his word, and the bastard son of a nobleman was
promoted to the lieutenancy instead of myself. From that moment the
military profession, the one most subject to arbitrary despotism,
inspired me with disgust, and I determined to give it up. But I had
another still more important motive for sorrow in the fickleness of
fortune which had completely turned against me. I remarked that, from the
time of my degradation with Melulla, every kind of misfortune befell me.
The greatest of all--that which I felt most, but which I had the good
sense to try and consider a favour--was that a week before the departure
of the army M. D---- R---- took me again for his adjutant, and M. F---- had
to engage another in my place. On the occasion of that change Madame F
told me, with an appearance of regret, that in Venice we could not, for
many reasons, continue our intimacy. I begged her to spare me the
reasons, as I foresaw that they would only throw humiliation upon me. I
began to discover that the goddess I had worshipped was, after all, a
poor human being like all other women, and to think that I should have
been very foolish to give up my life for her. I probed in one day the
real worth of her heart, for she told me, I cannot recollect in reference
to what, that I excited her pity. I saw clearly that she no longer loved
me; pity is a debasing feeling which cannot find a home in a heart full
of love, for that dreary sentiment is too near a relative of contempt.
Since that time I never found myself alone with Madame F----. I loved her
still; I could easily have made her blush, but I did not do it.

As soon as we reached Venice she became attached to M. F---- R----, whom
she loved until death took him from her. She was unhappy enough to lose
her sight twenty years after. I believe she is still alive.

During the last two months of my stay in Corfu, I learned the most bitter
and important lessons. In after years I often derived useful hints from
the experience I acquired at that time.

Before my adventure with the worthless Melulla, I enjoyed good health, I
was rich, lucky at play, liked by everybody, beloved by the most lovely
woman of Corfu. When I spoke, everybody would listen and admire my wit;
my words were taken for oracles, and everyone coincided with me in
everything. After my fatal meeting with the courtezan I rapidly lost my
health, my money, my credit; cheerfulness, consideration, wit,
everything, even the faculty of eloquence vanished with fortune. I would
talk, but people knew that I was unfortunate, and I no longer interested
or convinced my hearers. The influence I had over Madame F---- faded away
little by little, and, almost without her knowing it, the lovely woman
became completely indifferent to me.

I left Corfu without money, although I had sold or pledged everything I
had of any value. Twice I had reached Corfu rich and happy, twice I left
it poor and miserable. But this time I had contracted debts which I have
never paid, not through want of will but through carelessness.

Rich and in good health, everyone received me with open arms; poor and
looking sick, no one shewed me any consideration. With a full purse and
the tone of a conqueror, I was thought witty, amusing; with an empty
purse and a modest air, all I said appeared dull and insipid. If I had
become rich again, how soon I would have been again accounted the eighth
wonder of the world! Oh, men! oh, fortune! Everyone avoided me as if the
ill luck which crushed me down was infectious.

We left Corfu towards the end of September, with five galleys, two
galeasses, and several smaller vessels, under the command of M. Renier.
We sailed along the shores of the Adriatic, towards the north of the
gulf, where there are a great many harbours, and we put in one of them
every night. I saw Madame F---- every evening; she always came with her
husband to take supper on board our galeass. We had a fortunate voyage,
and cast anchor in the harbour of Venice on the 14th of October, 1745,
and after having performed quarantine on board our ships, we landed on
the 25th of November. Two months afterwards, the galeasses were set aside
altogether. The use of these vessels could be traced very far back in
ancient times; their maintenance was very expensive, and they were
useless. A galeass had the frame of a frigate with the rowing apparatus
of the galley, and when there was no wind, five hundred slaves had to
row.

Before simple good sense managed to prevail and to enforce the
suppression of these useless carcasses, there were long discussions in
the senate, and those who opposed the measure took their principal ground
of opposition in the necessity of respecting and conserving all the
institutions of olden times. That is the disease of persons who can never
identify themselves with the successive improvements born of reason and
experience; worthy persons who ought to be sent to China, or to the
dominions of the Grand Lama, where they would certainly be more at home
than in Europe.

That ground of opposition to all improvements, however absurd it may be,
is a very powerful one in a republic, which must tremble at the mere idea
of novelty either in important or in trifling things. Superstition has
likewise a great part to play in these conservative views.

There is one thing that the Republic of Venice will never alter: I mean
the galleys, because the Venetians truly require such vessels to ply, in
all weathers and in spite of the frequent calms, in a narrow sea, and
because they would not know what to do with the men sentenced to hard
labour.

I have observed a singular thing in Corfu, where there are often as many
as three thousand galley slaves; it is that the men who row on the
galleys, in consequence of a sentence passed upon them for some crime,
are held in a kind of opprobrium, whilst those who are there voluntarily
are, to some extent, respected. I have always thought it ought to be the
reverse, because misfortune, whatever it may be, ought to inspire some
sort of respect; but the vile fellow who condemns himself voluntarily and
as a trade to the position of a slave seems to me contemptible in the
highest degree. The convicts of the Republic, however, enjoy many
privileges, and are, in every way, better treated than the soldiers. It
very often occurs that soldiers desert and give themselves up to a
'sopracomito' to become galley slaves. In those cases, the captain who
loses a soldier has nothing to do but to submit patiently, for he would
claim the man in vain. The reason of it is that the Republic has always
believed galley slaves more necessary than soldiers. The Venetians may
perhaps now (I am writing these lines in the year 1797) begin to realize
their mistake.

A galley slave, for instance, has the privilege of stealing with
impunity. It is considered that stealing is the least crime they can be
guilty of, and that they ought to be forgiven for it.

"Keep on your guard," says the master of the galley slave; "and if you
catch him in the act of stealing, thrash him, but be careful not to
cripple him; otherwise you must pay me the one hundred ducats the man has
cost me."

A court of justice could not have a galley slave taken from a galley,
without paying the master the amount he has disbursed for the man.

As soon as I had landed in Venice, I called upon Madame Orio, but I found
the house empty. A neighbour told me that she had married the Procurator
Rosa, and had removed to his house. I went immediately to M. Rosa and was
well received. Madame Orio informed me that Nanette had become Countess
R., and was living in Guastalla with her husband.

Twenty-four years afterwards, I met her eldest son, then a distinguished
officer in the service of the Infante of Parma.

As for Marton, the grace of Heaven had touched her, and she had become a
nun in the convent at Muran. Two years afterwards, I received from her a
letter full of unction, in which she adjured me, in the name of Our
Saviour and of the Holy Virgin, never to present myself before her eyes.
She added that she was bound by Christian charity to forgive me for the
crime I had committed in seducing her, and she felt certain of the reward
of the elect, and she assured me that she would ever pray earnestly for
my conversion.

I never saw her again, but she saw me in 1754, as I will mention when we
reach that year.

I found Madame Manzoni still the same. She had predicted that I would not
remain in the military profession, and when I told her that I had made up
my mind to give it up, because I could not be reconciled to the injustice
I had experienced, she burst out laughing. She enquired about the
profession I intended to follow after giving up the army, and I answered
that I wished to become an advocate. She laughed again, saying that it
was too late. Yet I was only twenty years old.

When I called upon M. Grimani I had a friendly welcome from him, but,
having enquired after my brother Francois, he told me that he had had him
confined in Fort Saint Andre, the same to which I had been sent before
the arrival of the Bishop of Martorano.

"He works for the major there," he said; "he copies Simonetti's
battle-pieces, and the major pays him for them; in that manner he earns
his living, and is becoming a good painter."

"But he is not a prisoner?"

"Well, very much like it, for he cannot leave the fort. The major, whose
name is Spiridion, is a friend of Razetta, who could not refuse him the
pleasure of taking care of your brother."

I felt it a dreadful curse that the fatal Razetta should be the tormentor
of all my family, but I concealed my anger.

"Is my sister," I enquired, "still with him?"

"No, she has gone to your mother in Dresden."

This was good news.

I took a cordial leave of the Abbe Grimani, and I proceeded to Fort Saint
Andre. I found my brother hard at work, neither pleased nor displeased
with his position, and enjoying good health. After embracing him
affectionately, I enquired what crime he had committed to be thus a
prisoner.

"Ask the major," he said, "for I have not the faintest idea."

The major came in just then, so I gave him the military salute, and asked
by what authority he kept my brother under arrest.

"I am not accountable to you for my actions."

"That remains to be seen."

I then told my brother to take his hat, and to come and dine with me. The
major laughed, and said that he had no objection provided the sentinel
allowed him to pass.

I saw that I should only waste my time in discussion, and I left the fort
fully bent on obtaining justice.

The next day I went to the war office, where I had the pleasure of
meeting my dear Major Pelodoro, who was then commander of the Fortress of
Chiozza. I informed him of the complaint I wanted to prefer before the
secretary of war respecting my brother's arrest, and of the resolution I
had taken to leave the army. He promised me that, as soon as the consent
of the secretary for war could be obtained, he would find a purchaser for
my commission at the same price I had paid for it.

I had not long to wait. The war secretary came to the office, and
everything was settled in half an hour. He promised his consent to the
sale of my commission as soon as he ascertained the abilities of the
purchaser, and Major Spiridion happening to make his appearance in the
office while I was still there, the secretary ordered him rather angrily,
to set my brother at liberty immediately, and cautioned him not to be
guilty again of such reprehensible and arbitrary acts.

I went at once for my brother, and we lived together in furnished
lodgings.

A few days afterwards, having received my discharge and one hundred
sequins, I threw off my uniform, and found myself once more my own
master.

I had to earn my living in one way or another, and I decided for the
profession of gamester. But Dame Fortune was not of the same opinion, for
she refused to smile upon me from the very first step I took in the
career, and in less than a week I did not possess a groat. What was to
become of me? One must live, and I turned fiddler. Doctor Gozzi had
taught me well enough to enable me to scrape on the violin in the
orchestra of a theatre, and having mentioned my wishes to M. Grimani he
procured me an engagement at his own theatre of Saint Samuel, where I
earned a crown a day, and supported myself while I awaited better things.

Fully aware of my real position, I never shewed myself in the fashionable
circles which I used to frequent before my fortune had sunk so low. I
knew that I was considered as a worthless fellow, but I did not care.
People despised me, as a matter of course; but I found comfort in the
consciousness that I was worthy of contempt. I felt humiliated by the
position to which I was reduced after having played so brilliant a part
in society; but as I kept the secret to myself I was not degraded, even
if I felt some shame. I had not exchanged my last word with Dame Fortune,
and was still in hope of reckoning with her some day, because I was
young, and youth is dear to Fortune.




CHAPTER XVII

     I Turn Out A Worthless Fellow--My Good Fortune--I Become A
     Rich Nobleman

[Illustration: 1c17.jpg]

With an education which ought to have ensured me an honourable standing
in the world, with some intelligence, wit, good literary and scientific
knowledge, and endowed with those accidental physical qualities which are
such a good passport into society, I found myself, at the age of twenty,
the mean follower of a sublime art, in which, if great talent is rightly
admired, mediocrity is as rightly despised. I was compelled by poverty to
become a member of a musical band, in which I could expect neither esteem
nor consideration, and I was well aware that I should be the
laughing-stock of the persons who had known me as a doctor in divinity,
as an ecclesiastic, and as an officer in the army, and had welcomed me in
the highest society.

I knew all that, for I was not blind to my position; but contempt, the
only thing to which I could not have remained indifferent, never shewed
itself anywhere under a form tangible enough for me to have no doubt of
my being despised, and I set it at defiance, because I was satisfied that
contempt is due only to cowardly, mean actions, and I was conscious that
I had never been guilty of any. As to public esteem, which I had ever
been anxious to secure, my ambition was slumbering, and satisfied with
being my own master I enjoyed my independence without puzzling my head
about the future. I felt that in my first profession, as I was not
blessed with the vocation necessary to it, I should have succeeded only
by dint of hypocrisy, and I should have been despicable in my own
estimation, even if I had seen the purple mantle on my shoulders, for the
greatest dignities cannot silence a man's own conscience. If, on the
other hand, I had continued to seek fortune in a military career, which
is surrounded by a halo of glory, but is otherwise the worst of
professions for the constant self-abnegation, for the complete surrender
of one's will which passive obedience demands, I should have required a
patience to which I could not lay any claim, as every kind of injustice
was revolting to me, and as I could not bear to feel myself dependent.
Besides, I was of opinion that a man's profession, whatever it might be,
ought to supply him with enough money to satisfy all his wants; and the
very poor pay of an officer would never have been sufficient to cover my
expenses, because my education had given me greater wants than those of
officers in general. By scraping my violin I earned enough to keep myself
without requiring anybody's assistance, and I have always thought that
the man who can support himself is happy. I grant that my profession was
not a brilliant one, but I did not mind it, and, calling prejudices all
the feelings which rose in my breast against myself, I was not long in
sharing all the habits of my degraded comrades. When the play was over, I
went with them to the drinking-booth, which we often left intoxicated to
spend the night in houses of ill-fame. When we happened to find those
places already tenanted by other men, we forced them by violence to quit
the premises, and defrauded the miserable victims of prostitution of the
mean salary the law allows them, after compelling them to yield to our
brutality. Our scandalous proceedings often exposed us to the greatest
danger.

We would very often spend the whole night rambling about the city,
inventing and carrying into execution the most impertinent, practical
jokes. One of our favourite pleasures was to unmoor the patricians'
gondolas, and to let them float at random along the canals, enjoying by
anticipation all the curses that gondoliers would not fail to indulge in.
We would rouse up hurriedly, in the middle of the night, an honest
midwife, telling her to hasten to Madame So-and-so, who, not being even
pregnant, was sure to tell her she was a fool when she called at the
house. We did the same with physicians, whom we often sent half dressed
to some nobleman who was enjoying excellent health. The priests fared no
better; we would send them to carry the last sacraments to married men
who were peacefully slumbering near their wives, and not thinking of
extreme unction.

We were in the habit of cutting the wires of the bells in every house,
and if we chanced to find a gate open we would go up the stairs in the
dark, and frighten the sleeping inmates by telling them very loudly that
the house door was not closed, after which we would go down, making as
much noise as we could, and leave the house with the gate wide open.

During a very dark night we formed a plot to overturn the large marble
table of St. Angelo's Square, on which it was said that in the days of
the League of Cambray the commissaries of the Republic were in the habit
of paying the bounty to the recruits who engaged to fight under the
standard of St. Mark--a circumstance which secured for the table a sort
of public veneration.

Whenever we could contrive to get into a church tower we thought it great
fun to frighten all the parish by ringing the alarm bell, as if some fire
had broken out; but that was not all, we always cut the bell ropes, so
that in the morning the churchwardens had no means of summoning the
faithful to early mass. Sometimes we would cross the canal, each of us in
a different gondola, and take to our heels without paying as soon as we
landed on the opposite side, in order to make the gondoliers run after
us.

The city was alive with complaints, and we laughed at the useless search
made by the police to find out those who disturbed the peace of the
inhabitants. We took good care to be careful, for if we had been
discovered we stood a very fair chance of being sent to practice rowing
at the expense of the Council of Ten.

We were seven, and sometimes eight, because, being much attached to my
brother Francois, I gave him a share now and then in our nocturnal
orgies. But at last fear put a stop to our criminal jokes, which in those
days I used to call only the frolics of young men. This is the amusing
adventure which closed our exploits.

In every one of the seventy-two parishes of the city of Venice, there is
a large public-house called 'magazzino'. It remains open all night, and
wine is retailed there at a cheaper price than in all the other drinking
houses. People can likewise eat in the 'magazzino', but they must obtain
what they want from the pork butcher near by, who has the exclusive sale
of eatables, and likewise keeps his shop open throughout the night. The
pork butcher is usually a very poor cook, but as he is cheap, poor people
are willingly satisfied with him, and these resorts are considered very
useful to the lower class. The nobility, the merchants, even workmen in
good circumstances, are never seen in the 'magazzino', for cleanliness is
not exactly worshipped in such places. Yet there are a few private rooms
which contain a table surrounded with benches, in which a respectable
family or a few friends can enjoy themselves in a decent way.

It was during the Carnival of 1745, after midnight; we were, all the
eight of us, rambling about together with our masks on, in quest of some
new sort of mischief to amuse us, and we went into the magazzino of the
parish of the Holy Cross to get something to drink. We found the public
room empty, but in one of the private chambers we discovered three men
quietly conversing with a young and pretty woman, and enjoying their
wine.

Our chief, a noble Venetian belonging to the Balbi family, said to us,
"It would be a good joke to carry off those three blockheads, and to keep
the pretty woman in our possession." He immediately explained his plan,
and under cover of our masks we entered their room, Balbi at the head of
us. Our sudden appearance rather surprised the good people, but you may
fancy their astonishment when they heard Balbi say to them: "Under
penalty of death, and by order of the Council of Ten, I command you to
follow us immediately, without making the slightest noise; as to you, my
good woman, you need not be frightened, you will be escorted to your
house." When he had finished his speech, two of us got hold of the woman
to take her where our chief had arranged beforehand, and the others
seized the three poor fellows, who were trembling all over, and had not
the slightest idea of opposing any resistance.

The waiter of the magazzino came to be paid, and our chief gave him what
was due, enjoining silence under penalty of death. We took our three
prisoners to a large boat. Balbi went to the stern, ordered the boatman
to stand at the bow, and told him that he need not enquire where we were
going, that he would steer himself whichever way he thought fit. Not one
of us knew where Balbi wanted to take the three poor devils.

He sails all along the canal, gets out of it, takes several turnings, and
in a quarter of an hour, we reach Saint George where Balbi lands our
prisoners, who are delighted to find themselves at liberty. After this,
the boatman is ordered to take us to Saint Genevieve, where we land,
after paying for the boat.

We proceed at once to Palombo Square, where my brother and another of our
band were waiting for us with our lovely prisoner, who was crying.

"Do not weep, my beauty," says Balbi to her, "we will not hurt you. We
intend only to take some refreshment at the Rialto, and then we will take
you home in safety."

"Where is my husband?"

"Never fear; you shall see him again to-morrow."

Comforted by that promise, and as gentle as a lamb, she follows us to the
"Two Swords." We ordered a good fire in a private room, and, everything
we wanted to eat and to drink having been brought in, we send the waiter
away, and remain alone. We take off our masks, and the sight of eight
young, healthy faces seems to please the beauty we had so unceremoniously
carried off. We soon manage to reconcile her to her fate by the gallantry
of our proceedings; encouraged by a good supper and by the stimulus of
wine, prepared by our compliments and by a few kisses, she realizes what
is in store for her, and does not seem to have any unconquerable
objection. Our chief, as a matter of right, claims the privilege of
opening the ball; and by dint of sweet words he overcomes the very
natural repugnance she feels at consummating the sacrifice in so numerous
company. She, doubtless, thinks the offering agreeable, for, when I
present myself as the priest appointed to sacrifice a second time to the
god of love, she receives me almost with gratitude, and she cannot
conceal her joy when she finds out that she is destined to make us all
happy. My brother Francois alone exempted himself from paying the
tribute, saying that he was ill, the only excuse which could render his
refusal valid, for we had established as a law that every member of our
society was bound to do whatever was done by the others.

After that fine exploit, we put on our masks, and, the bill being paid,
escorted the happy victim to Saint Job, where she lived, and did not
leave her till we had seen her safe in her house, and the street door
closed.

My readers may imagine whether we felt inclined to laugh when the
charming creature bade us good night, thanking us all with perfect good
faith!

Two days afterwards, our nocturnal orgy began to be talked of. The young
woman's husband was a weaver by trade, and so were his two friends. They
joined together to address a complaint to the Council of Ten. The
complaint was candidly written and contained nothing but the truth, but
the criminal portion of the truth was veiled by a circumstance which must
have brought a smile on the grave countenances of the judges, and highly
amused the public at large: the complaint setting forth that the eight
masked men had not rendered themselves guilty of any act disagreeable to
the wife. It went on to say that the two men who had carried her off had
taken her to such a place, where they had, an hour later, been met by the
other six, and that they had all repaired to the "Two Swords," where they
had spent an hour in drinking. The said lady having been handsomely
entertained by the eight mask